Why are smoke detectors for deaf hard to come by?

EWTK: Why are smoke detectors for deaf hard to come by?

12/15/2006

Fred Lozano
KENS 5 Eyewitness News

It’s a lesson in civic involvement that just might save someone’s life. Eyewitness Wants to Know if there’s any help available to those who may be the most vulnerable during house fires.

Even if you don’t know sign language it’s easy to read the concern on their faces.

Deaf students at Stevenson Middle School are very aware that the three deaf people who died in this month’s fire on Westshire might have lived had the house been equipped with smoke alarms designed for the hearing-impaired.

“We have nothing because it’s so expensive,” Gabe Trujillo said. “We can’t afford it. We have a low income.”

“It’s a really scary experience, with no alarm for deaf people,” Terisha Springs said.

The students did a little classroom research to find out how much these strobe alarms cost.

The prices range from $149 to $300.

They found prices all right, but nowhere did they find anyone willing to donate the alarms.

Eyewitness Wants to Know why these life-saving alarms are so hard to come by.

District Fire Chief Carl Wedige says the fire department accepts fire alarm donations and installs them free for the elderly and disabled, but so far no one has ever donated a special strobe alarm.

“We count on corporate sponsors to assist us. We can certainly facilitate those where the need is there, provide those types of detectors provided we have corporate sponsorship,” Wedige said.

As tragedies often do, this month’s deadly house fire has raised a new sense of awareness that regular fire alarms serve no purpose if you can’t hear them.

The students at Stevenson say they hope their concerns don’t fall on deaf ears.

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Got a problem? Give Fred Lozano a call at (210) 377-8647, or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Links: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA121506.ewtk.kens.123b5749.html

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