Advocates for deaf call for fire code reform

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Monday, October 28, 2013

ST. CATHARINES, Ontario—The Canadian Hearing Society wants to ensure hearing-impaired people are as protected from fire as those who can hear. The advocacy group wants the Ontario government to reform the fire code, mandating installation of visual fire alarms in homes and in public spaces.

The society spread the word about visual fire alarms during a safety event in October, Niagara this Week reports. 

“People who are deaf and hard of hearing need to have the right equipment to keep their home safe,” said Vince Giovanni, St. Catharines fire inspector, according to the news site. “It can be the difference between life and death.”

The units can be expensive, generally costing $100 or more, but they are important to people who can’t hear traditional alarms. The hearing society is lobbying for financial assistance to help hearing impaired people get visual smoke alarms in their homes, according to the story. 

“It’s critical that someone with hearing loss be alerted and get out of a fire as quick as possible,” said Scott Harriman, hearing care counselor with the Canadian Hearing Society—Niagara.