DEAF children from Salford spent an afternoon learning about
fire safety while having a guided tour of Eccles Fire Station.
Blue Watch gave the group chance to dress up in fire gear while
having a look at the fire engine and Water Incident Unit and its
equipment before having a go at spraying water from hoses.
Station Manager Paul Smitham said: "After Deaf Awareness Week we
invited down children from Salford Children's Deaf Society to teach
the children and their families about fire safety.
"There are specialist services and fire safety information
available for deaf people and we thought it would be worth
highlighting to the children and their families from a young
During the visit, on Saturday, June 30, parents were given
advice about smoke alarms for people with impaired hearing and
details of how to access 999.
Community Safety Advisor Mel Bowling said: "Blue Watch were
fantastic with the children and were able to tailor everything
"Although the society provided a signer during the visit, many
of the young people were wearing hearing aids, so the firefighters
removed all name badges and distractions and spoke really clearly
to make it easy for them to lip read.
"Children had written down questions and the firefighters were
able to answer them all and they really seemed to enjoy their time
at the station and they loved meeting our mascot Cracker.
"I was able to chat to parents about deaf smoke alarms and I
referred them to the sensory team at Salford City Council who can
fit them and all children left with a pack containing pens,
stickers and a leaflet about 999 texting."
If you have a hearing difficulty smoke alarms are available that
use strobe lights and vibrating pads. They look like all smoke
alarms but work by wi-fi and use the lights and sensors under
pillows to alert people to smoke or fire.
Jodie Blinston, whose 15-month-old daughter Abigail is
profoundly deaf, said: "All the children really enjoyed the day at
the station and found it really helpful.
"But it was great for me too as a mum. Mel and the
firefighters told me all about deaf alerters, shakers and a 999
text facility that will be really beneficial when Abigail is a bit
Text Relay is a service provided by BT that enables deaf,
deaf-blind, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people who use
textphones to make and receive calls to and from hearing
A textphone or TalkByText user can contact the emergency
services by dialling 18000.
This call will be connected to the 999 services and translated
by a Text Relay Assistant. For more information on textphones and
the text relay service go to http://www.textrelay.org
The National Emergency SMS Service is a national scheme that
allows anyone unable to use voice telephony, to send a text to 999
using their mobile phones, which gets converted into a call to the
For more information regarding the service and how to register
follow this link to www.emergencysms.org.uk
For more information on Salford Deaf Children's Society go to http://www.salforddcs.co.uk/home/