State Fire Marshal giving free smoke alarms to the deaf, hard of hearing

A fire alarm beep helps you get out of danger, but five year-old Colt Shively can’t hear it.

“It really got us thinking whether Colt could hear the traditional fire alarm as he doesn’t wear his hearing aid when he sleeps,” said Colt’s mom Katelyn.

Colt’s parents learned about the State Fire Marshal’s new ‘Get Alarmed’ program; it aims to provide everyone working smoke alarms, especially those who are hard of hearing.

“We realized that those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can’t hear a traditional smoke alarm and we wanted them to be protected,” said Public Information Manager, Kevin Doel. “The fire marshal decided to add these special smoke alarms to our program and offer them for free.”

These special alarms respond to working smoke alarms, giving off vibrations and strobe lights to help alert those who can’t hear.

Colt and 88-year-old Arvell Duckworth, of Oskaloosa, are the program’s first two recipients. Duckworth lost his hearing through military duty.
Duckworth’s daughter, Debbie, says the alarm brings a renewed sense of security.

“It’s very comforting because I worry about my dad all the time,” said Debbie. “If there’s a fire or something my dad will have this (alarm).”

A fire alarm that the State Fire Marshal’s office says is key in saving lives.

“It’s achieving the plan of protecting the citizens of Kansas whether or not they can hear we want them to be safe from fire,” Doel said.

If you want to get one of these alarms in your home, you can go to the Kansas Fire Marshal’s website.

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