New device make homes safer for people with hearing deficits

PASCO, WA- For many of us if there's a fire we rely on the sound of a smoke alarm. But for some people traditional fire alarms just don't work. 

Pasco Fire Department and the Red Cross have introduced new alarms to help in that exact situation. 

Waking up to the sound of your fire alarm in the middle of the night can be scary.

But what if you can't hear that alarm?

That's the reality for the Heidi Cruz' family who's 6-year-old daughter Adriana, is deaf. 

"A smoke alarm at 3 in the morning went off in my bedroom and all of the kids but (Adriana) who has severe hearing loss woke up and were ready to move and I'm sitting in there trying to get her up out of bed... there was no response because she cant hear them," Heidi Cruz said. 

Fortunately, for the Cruz family, Pasco Fire and the Red Cross came to their rescue.

Partnering up to give the Cruz family a new device called the "bed-shaker."

The device has been used in other parts of the country but are the first of their kind in our region. 

Ben Shearer, of the Pasco Fire Department said ever since he heard about the family he has been wanting to give this device to them. 

"This is just our way of being able to work with those folks and be able to make that happen in their homes... having this one accomplished is a good feeling," Shearer said. 

Placed under a pillow or mattress, the "bed-shaker" device connects to the main fire alarm in the home.

When a fire is detected the device vibrates to wake even the heaviest of sleepers.

Nationwide the Red Cross tells me the device has saved more than 800 lives.

"We're looking forward to putting in more as they are needed, but the overall meeting the bigger goal for Red Cross to reduce those injuries or fatalities and this could be a key piece for a real market need," Brian Opitz, Red Cross member said. 

This partnership is all part of a campaign called "Sound the Alarm Campaign" which provides free smoke alarms nationwide. 

The Red Cross wants to work with more local fire departments to find families like the Cruz's that may need these devices. 

If you or anyone you know needs a device reach out to your local fire department to learn more.

Recommended for you