DEAR ABBY: Your Dec. 21 column featured a letter from a reader who is concerned because an elderly friend is unable to hear the audible signal from his smoke alarm. Your reader is right to be concerned. Smoke alarms provide the early warning of fire that makes it possible to escape. Every household needs working smoke alarms on each level of the home, and all members of the household must be able to react quickly to the alarm.
For people with hearing impairments, special smoke detection devices with louder alarms or strobe lights are available.
In addition to common audible-signal smoke alarms, many manufacturers now market a wide variety of signaling devices that -- when combined -- meet the needs of all people. Residents interested in purchasing these devices should contact their local fire department for information on manufacturers and local distributors.
Smoke alarms are an essential element of home fire protection. Everyone should have the life-saving protection afforded by this important technology. Thank you for helping your readers with hearing impairments learn how they can be better protected. -- GEORGE D. MILLER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION
DEAR GEORGE: And thank YOU for continuing to be a valuable resource for my readers and me. My readers will be pleased to know that detailed fact sheets on smoke alarms and other fire protection devices can be downloaded by visiting the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) online at www.nfpa.org.
Not only are smoke alarms with strobe lights as well as audible alarms available, there's even one that can be placed beneath one's pillow or between the mattress and box spring that vibrates when smoke is detected.
A magazine called Hearing Loss, published by Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, 7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3015, also keeps subscribers abreast of other safety products such as assisted-living devices, doorbells, special telephones, etc.
Every household needs at least one working fire alarm. The inability to hear one is no longer a reason for not having that kind of essential protection.