Fire Risks for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Fire safety is a much overlooked problem among people who are deaf or hard of hearing. They do not receive the same media, educational, or industry attention as the hearing population. Many advancements in fire injury and death prevention over the past century have not addressed the fire safety needs of the deaf community. The most significant of those inventions is the audible smoke alarm. Smoke alarms have been credited with saving thousands of lives from fires each year. Conventional alarms, however, work less well for those who cannot hear. Additionally, traditional fire safety messages do not address the unique needs of the deaf community. Fire safety messages more than likely will not reach this population due to the lack of effective distribution channels.

By raising the level of fire safety awareness for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, and for the surrounding population, we can eliminate many fire risks. Groups representing people with hearing impairments must collaborate with the fire service to educate each other and reduce the risks posed by fires to non-hearing people.

The principal findings of this study are summarized below: