Fire alarms for the hearing impaired highlighted by local fire officials

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HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — People over the age of 84 are nearly five times more likely to die in a fire, according to a study by the National Fire Protection Association.

That’s because aging affects their senses, like hearing, so they don’t know their smoke alarm is going off.

But Hampton Roads fire officials say there’s alternative alarms that they want to bring awareness to. 

A little over 10 years ago, a study was done by the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

In it, they learned the lower pitch tone was a lot more effective than higher pitch ones commonly used in smoke detectors.

Plus, they also tested alarms that didn’t rely on sound, such as bed and pillow shakers, and even strobe lights. 

They found out those woke up over 80 percent of the people in the study.

Now, the Hampton Roads Regional Fire and Rescue Public Information Association are working to spread the word about the Lifetone fire alarm that incorporates all those factors.

“They will place one of our alarms by a bedside table where they sleep and they’ll take our vibrator here and they’ll place it under the pillow or in some instances under the bedframe so they feel the vibrations,” said Lifetone Technology CEO Joel Roark.

The Hampton Roads Regional Fire and Rescue Public Information Association says the number of seniors in Hampton Roads is rising and this new technology could be a game changer.

“The nice thing about it is it works in conjunction with standard smoke alarms, you have someone in your home that is hearing impaired, a child, a teenager, and adult, they have the ability to use that smoke alarm when they’re sleeping and the rest of the family can use the traditional smoke alarm,” explained Hampton Battalion Chief PIO Anthony Chittum.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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