The Fort Wayne Fire Department (FWFD), League for the Blind and Disabled DeafLink Division, and the Delta Gamma Chapter of Psi Iota Xi Sorority partnered on a project to provide special smoke alarm systems for as many members of Fort Wayne's deaf and hard of hearing community as possible. They provided a demonstration today of how the special smoke alarm system from Silent Call Communications operates.
The alerting system this partnership is providing includes a mobile receiver with a built-in alarm clock and Ni-Cad battery backup, which interacts with special wireless smoke detectors, doorbells, and a standard telephone line. When a transmitter activates, it sends a digitally coded signal thus activating the mobile receiver and alerting the occupants via a strobe light and vibrator. The system allows residents to add other devices such as carbon monoxide detectors.
"Money to pay for the systems came from a competetive FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety Grants program," explained Captain Dave Meadows, FWFD Safety Educator, and coordinator of the project. "We previously worked with DeafLink, Psi Iota Xi, and the local HUD office in providing 16 alarm systems to deaf individuals last year. We discovered very quickly that there were many more families in need that were unable to afford these systems. Again this year, the Delta Gamma Chapter of Psi Iota Xi Sorority stepped forward and generously offered to pay for the interpreter's time to assist with the installation at the homes," he added.
Garth Sponseller, DeafLink Director at the League for the Blind and Disabled, said they were excited about this project. "People, in general, are often unaware of the many barriers people with disabilities experience," he said. "In this particular situation, people who are deaf or have different ranges of hearing loss experience significant financial impact. For a person without hearing-loss the cost of a smoke alarm may range from $10 - $30 whereas an alarm system needed by a person who is deaf can cost nearly $350." During this special project, DeafLink will be incorporating its new delivery method of sign language interpreting services by use of video remote interpreting (VRI). This technology uses video conference equipment to facilitate effective communication in a more time and cost efficient manner.
A special form to request a system is available by contacting Mr. Sponseller at DeafLink at