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Free Smoke Alarms and Alert Equipment for Oklahomans with Disabilities
STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA (February 29, 16) – “Did you know that if a fire starts in your home, you might have just two minutes to escape? The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. 60 percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. During a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.” – quoted from www.redcross.org
For the third consecutive year, the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT) has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to install smoke alarms and specialized alert equipment in the homes of Oklahomans with disabilities. The newest grant has expanded eligibility to include individuals who are blind, have low vision or use a mobility device; the grant will also continue to provide equipment for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. OkAT, with partners Oklahoma ABLE Tech, Fire Protection Publications, and Fire Service Training, all located at Oklahoma State University, will install the free life-saving equipment across the state for individuals of all ages who have vision, mobility or hearing disabilities.
In addition to smoke alarms, the equipment installation includes a loud, low-frequency bedside alert and bed shaker for those who are hard of hearing. In the homes of individuals who are deaf, an alarm with a strobe light is also installed to provide visual notification in the event of a fire. Trained fire safety professionals assist household members by creating a customized home fire escape plan along with a home safety survey which helps with the prevention of fires and burns, falls, accidental poisonings, and other common home injuries.
Nancy Trench with Fire Protection Publications said, “I am very excited to be a part of this FEMA grant since we will now be able to serve individuals statewide who need a combination of smoke alarms and specialized alert devices to give them as much time as possible to escape a home fire. The new grant will make it possible to reach a greater number of Oklahoma households than ever before. Trained staff from Fire Protection Publications, Fire Service Training as well as local fire safety professionals will install smoke alarms and provide fire safety education during a scheduled appointment to the home.”
“We want every Oklahoman to be safe in the event of a fire. This grant opportunity allows us to follow our mission of providing the resources for Oklahomans with disabilities to maintain the greatest independence in their environment. Being able to be alerted in case of a fire not only provides that independence, but makes everyone safer in their home,” commented Linda Jaco, with ABLE Tech.
These three organizations have a long history of saving lives through their past smoke alarm and alert device installation and educational projects. From direct feedback from the individuals that have received the equipment, 18 “saves” have been recorded due to this program’s smoke alarms alerting household members in time to get out and call the fire department.
Applications are available at www.okabletech.okstate.edu or by calling Oklahoma ABLE Tech at (toll free) 888-885-5588 to request an application by mail. Equipment is available while supplies last. To qualify applicants must have a professional attest to their disability as part of a completed application.