Cape Coral Fire Department Receives FEMA Grant to Provide Smoke Alarms for Hearing Impaired

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The Cape Coral Fire Department has been awarded a $188,572 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) for an outreach campaign to increase home fire safety for Cape Coral’s deaf and hard of hearing community. The Department will contribute an additional $9,428 making the total amount available for the project $198,000.

Most fire fatalities occur between 11 pm and 7 am while people are asleep. Smoke and fumes from a fire – smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death in a fire – won’t wake up someone who is sleeping, but a smoke alarm will. Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.

This grant emphasizes the importance of proper installation and use of special smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and for those who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants that they remove when sleeping. These alarms utilize bed shakers and strobe lights to warn those who can’t hear audible alarms of fire danger. Thanks to the grant, the Cape Coral Fire Department will be able to install these life-saving alarms in qualifying Cape Coral homes free of charge. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 5,500 people with hearing loss reside in Cape Coral.

“Everyone deserves to hear the beep,” says Fire Marshal C. Dave Raborn. “Thanks to this grant, we can help protect a portion of our citizens who need special assistance during a fire. We will continue to provide a safe community through prevention.”

Participation in this program is voluntary and is offered to persons who meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of “qualified individual with a disability” in regards to being deaf or hard of hearing. There are a limited number of these specialized smoke alarms available, and they will be provided on a first come, first served basis to qualified individuals who submit an application along with all appropriate paperwork. Applications can be found on the Cape Coral Fire Department website at www.capecoral.net/fire or by calling (239) 242-3264.