GIFD and GIPS Work to Get Special Smoke Detectors to Hearing Impaired Families

Grand Island firefighters have been working hard for several years now to make sure all Grand Island homes have smoke detectors.

"We want to see dual-sensor smoke detectors in every bedroom, outside of the bedroom in the hallway, and also on every floor," says firefighter/paramedic Jared Stockwell.

But for the hearing impaired the sound of a smoke alarm isn't always enough warning, so GIFD has added specialty smoke detectors to their "Smoke Detectors for Grand Island" program.

One type of bedside alarm is designed to activate when a standard detector goes off and vibrates the bed, waking the person up.

GIFD was able to work with GIPS to identify families who can benefit from these specialty alarms.

"I've always known that the equipment was available, but to be able to offer it for free to families is fabulous," says Denise Wolfe, speech pathologist and hearing impaired consultant with GIPS. "Right away we had immediate response from parents that were wanting this for their homes."

Monday was the first time GIFD installed the specialty smoke detectors for the hearing impaired, but through their program they've already installed more than 3,000 detectors in over 800 homes.

"If we're not running medical calls or not fighting fires we're educating people," says Stockwell. "We do a good job as a department of educating our youth during fire prevention in October, and I think we're doing a better job of educating our adults."

Besides proper detectors Stockwell says families should also have a plan to get out of their home and a designated meeting place once they're outside.

In addition to the beside alarm GIFD is also installing standard dual-sensor smoke detectors. They're also installing a wall mounted alarm for the hearing impaired that has a flashing light to visually warn of a fire.

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