Equal Fire Protection for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

deafgardRaising the alarm for deaf people in the event of a fire is not something that those unaffected by the issue would ordinarily consider. However, the specific problem of alerting anyone affected by deafness poses an obvious challenge that is beyond the capabilities of standard smoke alarms.

It is Deafblind Awareness Week, Monday the 22nd to Friday the 26th of June, and we are drawing the attention of businesses to some of the innovative solutions available to combat this specific issue.

Deafness poses a fundamental problem for standard smoke alarm systems because they are designed to raise an audible alarm in the event of a fire. If you have ever been in a large public building when a fire alarm system has been triggered, you may very well have noticed that the alarms were supplemented by strobe beacons. These are an additional feature that can be installed to alert anyone unable to hear the alarms, and are becoming commonplace in fire alarm systems covering public buildings.

Strobes are an effective way of adding a visual alert to a mainly audio driven system, but they rely completely on deaf or hard of hearing individuals noticing the lights. In a hotel or guest house the weakness is obvious as a strobe light is unlikely to wake a sleeping person. Indeed such buildings may only have audible alarms fitted.

That’s where the Deafgard from Fireco and the Ei175 system from Ei Electronics come into their own. Both of these systems feature a vibrating pad that is triggered in the event of a smoke alarm going off. These are designed to be placed under pillows and wake users in the event of a fire.

An Ei175 system is connected to and triggered by a smoke alarm and features a strobe light built in to the hardware. Up to 12 devices can be linked to this unit, allowing coverage to be extended across an entire building. It is also possible to integrate further strobes to give additional visual indicators. A wireless version is also available to reduce the installation costs.

Deafgards work on a different principle, in that they are wire-free and sound activated. When an alarm goes off within audible range of the unit, the Deafgard ‘hears’ the alarm and the vibration pad as well as the small strobe in the Deafgard are engaged. This has the obvious advantage that Deafgards are portable and can be used in multiple locations. This makes them a popular choice for hotels and guest houses looking to provide protection for deaf or hard of hearing guests, as well as deaf individuals that travel extensively.

These inventive solutions exist to ensure everyone is afforded an equal level of protection when a fire is detected. For further information or assistance, please contact our customer service team at support@safelincs.co.uk or ring us on 0800 612 6537.

Keeping a fire door open legally….and safely

Dorgard Fire Door RetainersFire safety company Safelincs operates a website www.firescout.co.uk that invites visitors to submit photographs of any potentially dangerous situations they have spotted. All entries are anonymous, the idea being to educate rather than ‘name and shame’. Safelincs then offers advice as to whether the situation could incur a fine and how much, if anything, it would cost to remedy the situation.
A common misdemeanour is to prop open a fire door, sometimes with a fire extinguisher – a double transgression!

Fire doors are an essential part of the fabric of a building and have two important functions in the event of a fire; when closed they form a barrier to stop the spread of fire or smoke and when opened they provide a means of escape. They are designed to be kept closed except when people are passing through them. In some businesses, and in places such as care homes or schools, closed fire doors can act as a hindrance to general mobility and moving around to perform essential tasks. However, there is a way in which the situation can be overcome without compromising safety or breaking the law.

Safelincs provide a number of products manufactured by specialist manufacturer Fireco which allow fire doors to be kept open legally and safely. Each of these products works by responding to the sound (anything above 65 decibels) of smoke or fire alarms; the mechanism holding the door open is released and the door closer on the fire door closes it to prevent the spread of fire and smoke around the building.

Dorgard, the first innovative product Fireco, is a wireless appliance that can be screwed the base of a door in less than five minutes. The standalone device will then hold the door open at any angle allowing freedom of access throughout the building. Utilising acoustic technology, Dorgard ‘listens’ for a continuous alarm of 65dBA or higher which, once heard, will automatically release the door. Dorgard is available in a variety of colours and finishes which will blend in with any décor.

Fireco also produces System X which extends the versatility of Dorgard by linking several different devices and by overcoming the issue of noisy workplaces. A transmitter is wirelessly installed next to a fire alarm sounder or hardwired into the fire alarm system. In the event of a fire, System X will wirelessly transmit simultaneously to multiple Dorgard X or Deafgard X units within a 100 metre range. Safelincs will visit an organisation’s premises and undertake a free survey and make recommendations for siting an effective system.

The latest product from Fireco is Freedor, a unique wire free solution that allows a door to free-swing just like a normal door and to be held open at any angle – automatically closing the door in a controlled manner when a fire alarm sounds. It utilises the same technology that is employed in Dorgard but is fixed unobtrusively to the top of the door. Using Freedor allows freedom of access throughout the building for disabled people and people less able to operate the doors, and assists businesses complying with the Equality Act 2010. The purchase price includes the installation through a professional installer.

All these products have applications in a wide variety of environments and allow easy movement through a building without compromising safety or contravening fire safety regulations.
To find out more about the Fireco range go to www.safelincs.co.uk and follow the link to Fire Door and Exit Equipment or call 0800 612 6537 where there are friendly experts on hand to offer advice.

Text Phone for Hearing Impaired Customers Introduced

Safelincs has always been selling fire safety equipment for deaf and hearing impaired customers. Communications prior to this were mostly via email or call center using a text phone as phone conversations were difficult for our hearing impaired customers. To improve the communication we have now launched a text phone. This computer sized device allows instant typed communication directly with the customer without the need of any intermediate call handling.

To use this service ring our freephone number 0800 612 4843.  A dedicated customer service team member will deal with your text calls.

The need for a text phone was identified through the customer care team and your survey replies. We take all our survey replies and comments seriously and wherever possible will act upon suggestions made.

Smoke alarms for the deaf

Did you know that there are smoke alarm systems specifically designed to alert deaf people of a fire? One model, the Deafgard, is an acoustically triggered unit that is activated when the fire alarm system is sounding. The Deafgard comprises of a vibration pad and a strobe light. The pad is placed under the pillow at night and should the fire alarm sound, the pad will begin to vibrate and the strobe light is triggered, waking the the deaf or hard of hearing person.

This alarm is portable and will work in conjunction with most smoke alarm systems giving the user peace of mind on holiday as well as at home.

On the other end of the technical spectrum is a new invention that has been launched in Tokyo for alerting the deaf through the sense of smell. This new alarm sprays wasabi vapour when activated by a smoke alarm. The vapour is reported to be so strong that it will wake the sleeping occupant within two minutes.

Although this is a novel idea it is unclear what life span this alarm has and how long the wasabi scent lasts, this is important to ensure that regular checks of the alarm can be made to ensure that it is in good working order.

We will have to watch the UK market for the first signs of the new scent alarm to learn more. In the meantime, if you require any further information on the means of alerting the deaf or hard of hearing to a fire, please visit  https://www.safelincs.co.uk/smoke-alarms-for-the-deaf/

Safelincs Achieves Major Distributor Contract

Safelincs has been awarded the Sole Distributor Contract for Fireco products such as Dorgard and Deafgard for both Germany and Austria. The products have been met by strong interest in both countries. The well known TÜV Institute has certified the Dorgard and a European EN1155 certification has just been achieved.