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SWFRS shows their support to Deaf Awareness Week and National Families Week

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service

In support of Deaf Awareness Week 2014 (19th – 25th May 2014) and National Families Week 2014 (26th May – 1st June 2014) South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is reinforcing the message that they currently offer free home fire safety checks to the Deaf and hard of hearing communities in South Wales and support young families in their communities all year round.

Richard Hassett, Home Safety Manager, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said;

“This is a vital service for our Deaf and hard of hearing communities as we currently install over 100 specialist alarms every month in vulnerable homes across South Wales”.

Paula Brown, Family Officer, The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) agrees and says

“The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) has had a very positive partner relationship with the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service since 2011. The referral process is clear and straightforward which makes it easy for the NDCS Family Officer, who is the link and identifies suitable families. The on-line referral form is filled in and emailed it to Donna Crossman, Partner Agency Manager who ensures that families with deaf children and young people are visited by one of her team and have the specialist smoke alarms fitted as quickly as possible”.

“This is a vital service for deaf children and young people, a particularly vulnerable group, who either cannot hear or might struggle to hear a normal smoke alarm during the day but who find it impossible at night when their hearing aids or cochlear implants are taken off”.

“NDCS is very grateful for, and looks forward to continuing, this very successful partner relationship long into the future and would recommend it to other organisations”.

Cath Tarrant, Projects Manager, Home Safety, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service explains

“In May this year myself and our Families Specialist, Leigh Jones visited a family referred to us from our partners NDCS. We received a warm reception from the whole family who until NDCS informed them of our free service had no idea that we installed specialist alarms for the hard of hearing and the Deaf. Their oldest child (Brody) is deaf and wears hearing aids. As a British Sign Language user I was able to sign with Mum and the children and address fire risks within the property.”

She continued

“We carried out a Home Fire Safety Check and installed a hard of hearing alarm. The whole family got involved with testing the alarms and the importance having a night time routine, an escape plan, cooking safely and looking after their electric and gas appliances. We hope that the family pass on their experience to other families in the Deaf community”.

Kylie Griffiths (Mum to Brody) said

“I am so grateful to Paula at NDCS and the fire and rescue service for working together to provide Brody with a specialist smoke alarm. It's very reassuring to know that he now can be alerted if there ever was a fire at home and he has the same access as the rest of the family who are hearing. I know it works well because it woke him up when I burnt the toast!! So thank you all very much once again."

Alison Kibblewhite, Head of Risk Reduction at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said

"People in our communities lead very busy lives, always rushing around. We urge everyone to take just two minutes to check around before leaving for work and school to make sure appliances are switched off and that their homes are safe from fire”.

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