Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University
Department of Wellness

America's HEALTHIEST Campus®

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

Marie telling story to Channel 6, Tulsa, reporterThis is Marie’s story...

Marie was in the back office on her video relay phone visiting with her husband about the new equipment. "I looked up, and I could see the strobe light flashing way down the hall." The equipment she was telling her husband about was a smoke alarm with a strobe light had been installed in their Broken Arrow home just 30 minutes before by trained OSU staff along with an American Sign Language interpreter. She says the equipment saved her life.

Gentex Alert AlarmSmoke alarms DO save lives. They notify people to a home fire so they have time to escape, but for individuals, like Marie, with hearing loss, standard smoke alarms may not alert them. For the fourth consecutive year, the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT) received a grant from FEMA to install smoke alarms and alert equipment in the homes of individuals in Oklahoma who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, low vision, or who use a mobility device. OkAT partners with Oklahoma ABLE Tech, Fire Protection Publications, and Fire Service Training (all located at Oklahoma State University) to install free smoke alarms and alert equipment.

Marie’s story from the beginning: “I started to melt chocolate on the stove for candy, and then left the kitchen to call my husband on the video phone to tell him about the new smoke alarms. When I saw the strobe light, I thought the equipment was malfunctioning. So I walked into the living room to find smoke and I was shocked,” Marie said. “Where was that coming from? Then, I went into the kitchen and I couldn't believe it -- I realized I had turned on the wrong burner when the pan was still cold and a kitchen towel too close to the hot burner was smoking." She said she never meant to test out the new equipment so soon.

Marie's escape plan“No one was hurt, just my pride a little bit,” she said. "There was no smoke smell in the office, so this could have continued and become a real dangerous fire."

The FREE Smoke Alarm & Alert Equipment program continues through the month of October or until supplies are exhausted. Homes can qualify for more than one installation, depending on need. Installation is scheduled at the homeowner's convenience and conducted by professional installers. Installers also assist with planning a home fire drill and offering a home safety survey to prevent fires, burns, falls, and other common home injuries.

Applications are available at Oklahoma ABLE Tech or by calling Tammie Honeyman at Oklahoma ABLE Tech (toll free) 888-885-5588 or email Applicants will need someone to attest to their disability on the application (not necessarily a physician).

Channel 6 in Tulsa filmed Marie's story and you can watch it at