Last year as students went through online/virtual learning, there were times teachers were shocked to hear alarms chirping in the background of their students’ home – alarms that the children and sometimes even the parents were choosing to ignore. The fact was, many of the kids and families did not know what the alarms were, or didn’t know what to do about them.
Those alarms – designed to warn families of smoke or carbon monoxide - could save your life. But only if they are properly installed and maintained.
That is why this year’s National Fire Prevention Week theme is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.” Sault Ste Marie Fire Services (Sault Fire) has adapted this motto to “Learn the Sights and Sounds of Fire Safety” to be more inclusive to residents who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The Canadian Hearing Society estimates there are 3.15 million Canadians who are hard of hearing and 340,000 Canadians who are deaf. It is critical that all people, including the hearing impaired, have access to information needed to survive a crisis.
To alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing there are specially designed smoke alarms and alert devices. These devices are equipped with strobe lights that flash and visually alert people when the smoke alarm sounds and pillow or bed shakers that integrate with your smoke alarm. More information on fire safety for the hard of hearing can be found here.
“At Sault Fire, we know that working smoke alarms save lives and we encourage everyone to understand the different signals their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make,” says Fire Chief Peter Johnson.
Your fire, smoke, or C02 alarm emit different sounds:
- Beeping means danger
- Chirping mean the batteries or unit need to be replaced
Sault Fire elaborates, “Smoke alarms will emit sets of three beeps if smoke or fire is present. If carbon monoxide is present, CO alarms will emit sets of four beeps. When either alarm beeps, get out, call 9-1-1 and stay out. If you hear a single, quick chirp from your smoke or CO alarm every 30-60 seconds, it means it’s time to make a change. If after you have changed the batteries the alarm is still chirping, it means the alarm is at its end of life and needs to be replaced.”
“People who are deaf or hard of hearing may not be able to depend on sounds to let them know there is danger or low battery. In these cases, special devices, such as strobe lights and bed shakers, make great additions to typical alarms. Devices like these can be purchased through Canadian Hearing Services.”
Never ignore the sights or sounds of a fire, smoke, or C02 alarm. Your life depends on it. Learn more by visiting the Sault Fire booth at Canadian Tire on Wednesday, October 6th and 9th from 11-3 pm, and follow Sault Fire on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. During Fire Prevention Week, Sault Fire will be using its social media to provide tips, videos, contests and giveaways all week long.