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Alarm can save a life

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If you know someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, you might want to check this out: the purchase of smoke alarms designed to alert people who might not hear a traditional one.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoke alarms sounded in roughly half of the home fires reported from 2003 to 2006, and nearly two-thirds of fire deaths were reported in homes with no smoke alarm.

So the facts are clear: Smoke alarms save lives.

But what about individuals who can’t hear a standard smoke alarm? What happens to them?

There are smoke alarms that feature a strobe light and bed shaker. They can be found at local hardware and home supply stores.

The devices have a proven track record.

Early on the morning of Jan. 14, 2010, firefighters in Elsmere, Kentucky, arrived to find a mobile home engulfed in flames. After they had extinguished the fire and were cleaning up to head back to the station, the home’s 64-year-old resident approached firefighters to thank them. He said he had been awakened by the vibration triggered by an alarm the fire department had installed in his home two years before.

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Half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February, according the State Fire Marshal’s Office. And with Merrillville-based NIPSCO, which supplies natural gas to the Kokomo area, forecasting an expensive heating season this winter, many people will be utilizing space heaters and wood-burning stoves to mitigate heating costs.

“Every winter, firefighters across the state respond to thousands of home fires caused by improper heaters, fireplaces, wood burning stoves, etc.,” former Fire Marshal Jim Greeson said in 2013. “Properly placed smoke alarms will give families the most of the few minutes they have to react in a fire.”

It was just this past February that three children, a 1-year-old, 5-year-old and 6-year-old, were killed when a fire broke out in their rural Miami County home on a Saturday.

Don’t let this happen to your family. The fire marshal says smoke detectors should be installed on every level of a home and placed near sleeping areas.

And if you have a friend or a loved one who could benefit from a smoke alarm that features a strobe, make a trip to an area hardware or home improvement store and pick up a few.

- Kokomo Perspective