At our recent Fire and Life Safety Expo we heard from Brian Cannon of Silent Alert about the importance of considering deaf people when it comes to fire alarms.
Brian told us how he stayed at a hotel many years ago where the fire alarm went off but he did not hear it due to having his hearing aids removed at the time. Thankfully it was a false alarm but it got him thinking about creating his own products that could prove lifesaving.
Silent Alert is a wireless alerting system for people who are deaf, blind or hard of hearing. These simple to use systems are both robust and reliable and provide peace of mind for many people living in Ireland today. The products are divided into three ranges; domestic, commercial and care call.
Silent Alert Domestic consists of a radio paging system that can be used around the home. The user can go about their day to day activities with the confidence they won’t miss important sounds around the home. There is a range of discreet transmitters allowing the user to monitor a variety of situations with a single receiver.
Worn on the belt, in a pocket or around the neck there is even a version with brail. Once a signal such as a fire alarm is received it will illuminate one of the keys and discreetly vibrates to alert the user of that event. It can cover smoke alarms, fire alarms, doorbells, carbon monoxide alarms, phone ringing and more. Easily recharged at night it has a range of 1000m in open air and a unique vibration pattern for each event. It is programmed to have a soft start which slowly increases the power after the first vibration resulting in not startling the user.
The Signwave version has both sound and flasher which is designed to make noise and flash for those with poor hearing rather than total deafness. An overnight cover for use under a pillow for vibrating will wake the user should it be necessary during the night.
With an ageing population this range is becoming very popular. The system will allow a carer to know when somebody has left the bed, got up from a chair or left a room even when the carer is somewhere else in the home. Allowing monitoring of up to 12 items on one unit it is also used in residential homes with multiple patients.
To use, locate the movement monitor on a wall close to a main socket and use the sensor pivot to direct the movement sensor to the area you want to cover. The chair leaving alert works by placing a pressure pad under the seat cushion and plugging in a monitor. A signal is sent each time the person rises so the carer is alerted.
A movement monitor can be set for a door for particular times of day or night. A delay is incorporated to avoid false alarms. The bed leaving alert works with an under carpet pressure pad close to bedside and the plug in monitor.
Back to our hotel example, the commercial silent alert is the solution to the issue of providing fire alarm cover for people who are deaf. It can be linked with existing alarm systems, conventional or addressable fire alarm system. Ideal for hotel but also used in warehouses and office buildings. It is fully compatible with existing traditional alarms and provides a unique fire alarm detection system for deaf people.
Simple to install and use and with a wide coverage range, it makes any existing fire alarm system accessible to deaf people. Brian tells us that the system is not just for fire alarms and gave us an example of a recent installation in a bakery in County Clare. The baker is deaf and can now ‘hear’ the doorbell when the flour delivery is made in the early hours.
Current standards state that tactile devices should be used, the flashing light is not sufficient for a deaf person. Visual alerts are necessary as are vibration alerts, deaf people should be taken into account when designing a fire alarm system.
If you are interested in hearing more about the Silent Alert range of products, you can speak with our expert team at Northwood Technology.