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Mesa installs specialized fire alarms in homes of deaf

PHOENIX — Mesa firefighters installed specialized fire alarms in the homes of needy deaf people on Monday.

“We have a unit that actually has strobe as well as two-tone alerting sound, as well as a heavy bed shaker that will wake them up in the middle of the night,” spokesman Warren Sprecher said.

Beca Bailey, a deaf specialist with the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing, said through an interpreter that these alarms can help save lives.

“If you don’t have that alarm in your home then you have a higher risk of death,” she said.

She added the alarms also help allow people who are deaf to keep their independence while still remaining safe.

“I can evacuate on my own without having to rely on someone else to come and alert me to get me out — by that time it might be too late,” she said. “You don’t have to ask your hearing neighbor to be on the lookout for you and come and get you if something is wrong, what if they’re not home? What if they’re sleeping themselves and they don’t know anything is going on?”

The portable alarms were paid for by a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant. Typical fire alarms cost between $10 to $20, but alarms used to alert deaf people can cost hundreds.

“They are expensive, they run anywhere from $100 to $300 dollars,” Sprecher said.