PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire has received $1 million in federal and civic funding to assist residents that are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Funding will be provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is going to be used to provide smoke detectors designed to help those with hearing issues.
The Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire will work with the Center for Hearing and Deaf Services in Pittsburgh in order to determine those that are in need of the devices and how to use them.
“The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) states people who are deaf or have hearing impairments face unique challenges in an emergency,” said Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Chief Darryl Jones. “Their ability to detect a fire or escape its effects can be hindered by their impairments. As a result, they are at a greater risk of death or injury due to fire. The most pressing fire safety issue for people who are deaf or hard of hearing is whether they will be alerted to danger in time to escape. These specially-designed devices are expensive to buy and install in a home – much more so than the standard smoke detectors you’d find at a hardware store. Those with hearing impairments should not be prevented from protecting themselves and their families in the event of a fire simply because it is cost-prohibitive.”
The specialized equipment will vary depending on need. Some devices will work with audible smoke detectors and add visual cues. Others will be worn on an individual’s person and work as a pager through vibrations.
The Bureau Of Fire Inspector Lisa Epps will be leading the training to teach individuals how to operate and install the equipment.
A start date will be announced at a later time.