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Sanibel Fire and Rescue installing devices for hearing impaired

By Staff | Dec 24, 2019

In a partnership with the Cape Coral Fire Department, the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District is offering the free installation of a life-saving device in the residences of those with hearing impairments.

The Sanibel district received three Safe Awake supplemental fire safety devices from the Cape department. Sanibel Fire Marshal Rick Tassoni explained that the Cape applied for a grant to acquire the devices for its citizens, receiving a sufficient amount to provide them to other area agencies.

“They were provided to all of the fire departments in Lee County,” he said, noting that the Cape department provided them free-of-charge. “Anybody who wanted them could request the devices.”

The Safe Awake device is designed to help individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, those who might not be able to hear a conventional smoke alarm. The device works with the residence’s existing smoke alarm system. When the alarm goes off, the device activates multiple indicators, including:

* Vibrating bed shaker: It sends an intermittent tactile signal to a bed shaker, located between the mattress and bed springs at chest height, to ensure those sleeping will awake to the emergency.

* Low frequency sounder: A low-frequency, high-decibel square-wave sounding alarm is emitted. It allows those who are deaf or have varying levels of hearing loss a greater chance at hearing the alarm.

* Flashing light: Once an individual has awoken to the emergency, they can visually see the bright flashing of the alarm.

Tassoni reported that Sanibel’s current three devices are already reserved for homes.

“We just haven’t installed them yet,” he said.

For others interested in obtaining a Safe Awake, they need to first request one from the CCFD by visiting www.capecoral.net/fire or calling 239-242-3264.

They will need to fill out and sign a form that verifies their eligibility and need for one, as they are intended for those with hearing impairments.

Once approved, the Cape department will provide the Sanibel district with a device.

“We contact the owner and schedule a time to install it for them,” Tassoni said.

At the time of installation, a waiver for the device must be signed. He noted that the owner of the property must sign the waiver, so renters will have to have their landlord sign the paperwork.

Tassoni added that the CCFD has a limited inventory of Safe Awakes.

“There’s still some available,” he said. “But when they’re done, they’re done.”

The Sanibel district thanked the Cape for donating the devices.

“Their kindness is greatly improving the safety on our island,” Tassoni said.

For more information on the Safe Awake, visit www.safeawake.com.

For questions, contact Tassoni at RTassoni@SanibelFire.com.