Deaf Awareness Week: 4 to 10 May 2015

Wed 29 Apr, 2015

Firefighters are urging people who are deaf or hard of hearing - or who share a home with someone with hearing loss - to check that they have effective smoke alarms.

The plea comes during the run-up to Deaf Awareness Week, coordinated by the UK Council on Deafness, which starts on Monday 4 May.

An estimated one million adults in the UK are unable to hear an ordinary smoke alarm, either because of hearing difficulties or because they remove their hearing aids at night.

A number of alarms have been designed specifically for people who are hard of hearing, with features ranging from strobe lighting and vibrating alarms to small wearable radio-linked pagers.

Richard Priest, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's community safety team, said: “It is vital that people who are deaf or hard of hearing ensure they have the right smoke alarm technology in their home to protect them – and that they test them regularly, to make sure they work.

“Many people with hearing loss could be at serious risk if they don’t have the right alarm in place. A specialist alarm system provides valuable time to escape from a house fire. Without it, lives could be lost.

“Anyone unsure about the alarm they need should contact us for a free safety check in their home. We are here to help make sure your home is as safe from fire as possible.”

To book a free safety check, ring 01296 744477 or send an email to

Deafness - some facts from the UK Council on Deafness (

  • One in six people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • More than 45,000 children in the UK are deaf.
  • About 2 million people in the UK have hearing aids.
  • Nearly 3.7 million people of working age have hearing loss. This figure includes 135,000 people who are severely or profoundly deaf.
  • Adults and children who are deaf or hard of hearing face communication barriers which can cause lack of confidence, exclusion from society, isolation, unemployment and depression.
  • Technology and the way people communicate are helping to change this.