Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Monday, December 19, 2011


200 specialty detectors designed to be felt, not heard

The Chicago Fire Department (CFD) received an increase to a Fire Prevention and Safety Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that will allow the purchase of an additional 4,200 smoke detectors with installation supplies, 200 of the detectors were designed for use by residents who are deaf and hard of hearing. The FEMA award of $124,228 was received from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

“We thank FEMA for increasing the grant and recognizing the need for additional smoke detectors including those specifically designed to allow residents to feel the alarm if it cannot be heard,” said Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff. “About half of the fire deaths that occurred in Chicago over the past several years have been in homes without working smoke detectors.”

The CFD has partnered with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) to determine proper distribution of these accessible units.

“This pilot program to provide accessible smoke alarms to people who are deaf or hard of hearing is an important step towards our goal of ensuring that the City's life safety programs are inclusive of people with disabilities,” said MOPD Commissioner Karen Tamely. The 2010 Fire Prevention and Safety Grant from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program will allow the CFD to:

· Install 4,000 smoke detectors in the homes of seniors and people who reside in neighborhoods with an elevated rate of fire deaths;

· Install 200 specialized smoke detectors in the homes of people who are deaf or hard of hearing; and

· Conduct four fire safety education sessions that target the deaf and hard of hearing community, of which at least one of the sessions will be for children.

This project builds on a previous Fire Prevention and Safety Grant project that provided funds to the CFD to install 16,000 smoke detectors in the homes of senior citizens and people who reside in neighborhoods with an elevated rate of fire deaths. The installation was completed in March of 2011.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant will cover the cost of purchasing 4,200 additional smoke detectors and installation supplies, sign-language interpreters and real-time captioning service for the education sessions and educational materials. The Chicago Fire Department Public Education Unit provides the personnel to conduct the education sessions and install the smoke detectors. The federal government will provide 80% of the funds for this project and the City will provide the balance of the funding.

All smoke detectors installed as part of this program contain a 10-year tamper resistant lithium battery.

The Fire Prevention and Safety Grants (FP&S) are part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants ( AFG ), and are under the purview of the Grant Programs Directorate in the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FP&S Grants support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards. The primary goal is to target high-risk populations and reduce injury and prevent death. In 2005, Congress reauthorized funding for FP&S grants and expanded the eligible uses of funds to include Firefighter Safety Research and Development.
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