KSD students receive smoke alarms

September 10, 2004|TODD KLEFFMAN

Students at Kentucky School for the Deaf went home Thursday carrying a gift that could save their lives.

Each of KSD's 85 elementary and middle school students received a smoke detector specially designed for the deaf and hearing impaired. The devices have a powerful strobe light that flashes when there is fire danger and emit a louder, shriller alarm than normal smoke detectors.

"With the deaf, everything is visual," said Paul Smiley, KSD's safety officer. "These are visual alarms. They will see it even if they are sleeping. This will do it for the deaf."

The alarms, which cost about $160 each, were provided through a grant from the National SAFE Home Foundation, a non-profit agency that has been supplying smoke detectors to fire departments around the country since 1990 to reduce fire deaths and injuries.


Danville Fire Marshal Ken Pflug demonstrated the devices for the students. Along with bright flashes from the strobe light, the alarm sent out a tone designed to be better heard by those whose hearing is impaired. Several students covered their ears and averted their eyes while Pflug conducted a test.

"This is a very high quality detector," Pflug said.

Students were told to install the alarms in their bedrooms at home, about a foot below the ceiling for maximum smoke detection efficiency.

Fran Hardin, principal of the middle and high schools at KSD, said the strobe alarms would be crucial to alerting a deaf person to a fire and giving them a chance to escape safely. In the hearing world, screams from others in the house or the sound of a smoke alarm often signal people of the danger, she said, but those kinds of alerts don't work with the deaf and hearing impaired.

Pflug also discussed general fire safety with the students, reminding them to check the batteries on their smoke detectors twice a year and practice home fire drills with their families.

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