Fire departments distribute free fire alarms for deaf students

Fire departments distribute free fire alarms for deaf students
Fire departments across the Lowcountry visited the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at the Charleston County School of the Arts on Monday to give out free “bed shaker” fire alarms. (Source: Live 5 News)

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Fire departments across the Lowcountry visited the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at the Charleston County School of the Arts on Monday to give out free "bed shaker" fire alarms.

Robbi Amick, one of the teaching assistants and interpreters in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, contacted officials within Fire Safe SC to equip the students with fire alarms designed for deaf people.

"Just being able to meet with them and chat with them--it's been so interesting, the device that they showed us today," deaf student Marion Major said.

The alarms are designed to shake the bed of the deaf and hard of hearing person to wake them up.

"When a fire alarm goes off, the hearing impaired shaker will pick up the signal and then shake the bed," North Charleston Fire Department representative Laura Kelley said.

The devices fill a huge need in the deaf community that a lot of people don't know about, and it's something the students know will be a big help,

"I have my hearing aids off when I sleep, so that alarm will notify me," deaf student Everette Ladson said. "As soon as the bed starts shaking, I'll definitely be able to get up."

Most of the day the firefighters were teaching, presenting and demonstrating, but then they went to Arionna Conklin's house, where they actually installed one of the devices.

"The firemen came visiting us," Arionna said. "They went to my house, put in a bed shaker so I will be safe."

That safety is something Arionna's mom is thankful for.

"If anything happens and I'm trapped inside of my room and I can't get out, she at least has some way of getting herself up and able to get out of the house herself," Mary Conklin said.

The devices are free to all qualified applicants.

Local fire departments have committed to installing the devices at no cost.

"We hope by publicizing this event, more deaf citizens will reach out to Fire Safe SC to see if they qualify for this service," Amick said. "I know everyone in our program, students and staff members, are grateful for this organization and the fire departments that are helping install this potentially life-saving device."

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