Imagine a fire breaking out in your home but you can’t hear your fire alarm go off. For many in Acadiana, that is the reality. This week is Fire Protection Awareness week and this month is National Audiology Awareness month. You are probably wondering how those two correlate with each other, but you’d be surprised.
400 free smoke alarms ready to help the Deaf or hard of hearing community in Lafayette Parish. The Lafayette Fire Department has already installed 50 of them but they’re hoping to install all of them to keep everyone safer in the instance of a fire.
To apply for it, all you need to do is go to www.lafayettela.gov/firedepartment and you must meet two requirements.
“That tone was a 4000 hertz tone which is a more high pitched tone and that’s typically where we see noise induced hearing loss first.” said Doctor of Audiology, Ashley Thom.
If you couldn’t hear that last high frequency pitch, experts say you need to head to an audiologist.
“Hearing loss usually happens so subtly that you don’t notice that it’s happening. When you have hearing loss especially high frequency hearing loss, alert systems such as smoke alarms, burglar systems, sirens, horns on cars… you may not be able to hear them and that could put you at a big risk for your safety.” said Thom.
Being able to hear when the fire alarm goes off in a home is a big reason why The Batiste family took advantage of the Lafayette Fire Departments free program for their aging mother.
“You know she’s hard of hearing. “She wears hearing aids in both ears and we know that and there are times when she’s alone here at the house.” said Son of Anna Batiste, Anthony.
This special fire alarm is just one of 400 hundred that are free for those who are hard of hearing or deaf. For Mrs. Anna Batiste, she feels better knowing she’ll now be able to hear and feel it.
“It shakes the bed you know to wake her up.” said Anthony, “Because you know she doesn’t wear hearing aids when she sleeps.”
“It gives you a warning when there is a fire. To get out as fast as you can.” said Mrs. Batiste.
“About 1 in three adults in the US suffer from hearing loss” said Thom, “In terms of a fire you have less than 5 mins to get out of a house. That’s why those bed shakers and the flashing lights are so important.”
Now thanks to this technology, eligible families in Lafayette can feel safer in their homes.
“I have the fire alarm and that makes me feel most safe in my home.” said Mrs. Batiste
“It’s just piece of mind.” said Anthony, “That’s exactly what it is and takes care of for us.”