Deaf Awareness Week: Make sure you have the right smoke alarms

Tue 3 May, 2016

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 at the start of Deaf Awareness Week, coordinated by the UK Council on Deafness, which runs until Sunday 8 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.
  • 6.5 million of these people are aged 60 and over.
  • About 2 million people in the UK have hearing aids.
  • About 3.7 million people of working age in the UK have hearing loss. 
  • 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.