Suffolk ahead of the life-saving game

A NEW life-saving initiative for deaf and hard of hearing people has put Suffolk's fire and rescue service ahead of its counterparts throughout the country.

A NEW life-saving initiative for deaf and hard of hearing people has put Suffolk's fire and rescue service ahead of its counterparts throughout the country.

Suffolk County Council's fire and rescue service has become the first in the country to supply new RNID smoke alarms free to people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The council says a third of people with a hearing loss say they would have difficulty waking up to a conventional smoke alarm, especially since hearing aids are taken out at night.

Almost a quarter say they would struggle to know if the alarm went off during the day.


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RNID smoke alarms comply with British Standard Institution (BSI) specifications, introduced earlier this year.

Smoke alarms that comply with the important new standard must have a flashing light, standard audio alert and a vibrating pad, which is placed under the mattress or pillow to shake the person awake when the alarm detects smoke.

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Mark Downs, executive director of technology and enterprise at RNID, said: “RNID is delighted that Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is leading the way in providing compliant equipment.

“This move will go a long way to help ensure the safety of deaf and hard of hearing people in Suffolk.”

Gary Philips, assistant chief fire officer at Suffolk fire and rescue service, added: “These smoke alarms could be the difference between life and death for a deaf person or someone with hearing difficulties.

“We are committed to making Suffolk a safer county for everyone and will be fitting these special alarms throughout the year for anyone who needs them.

“An effective smoke alarm gives you the vital seconds you need to call 999 and get out of the house.”

Any deaf or hard of hearing person who feels they would benefit from this type of smoke alarm should contact Suffolk County Council's social care team through the Customer First helpline on 08456 023 023.

Suffolk's team of community fire safety officers will then carry out home fire safety checks and install the alarm free of charge.

For details on RNID's BSI compliant smoke alarm, or any other equipment designed for deaf and hard of hearing people, contact RNID on 0870 789 8855, on textphone at 01733 238020 or visit www.rnidshop.com.

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