Proposed Deaf Hearing Impaired Smoke Alarm Scheme

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 Proposed Deaf & Hearing Impaired Smoke Alarm Scheme


Background

The State Government clearly supports the installation of hard-wired smoke alarms
in every WA residence. This is evidenced by the recent introduction of new laws
requiring mains-powered alarms to be installed in all properties being sold or rented
to new tenants.

While the standard high frequency smoke alarm is suitable to wake most mild to
moderately hearing impaired people, people who are profoundly deaf or have a
severe hearing impairment (cannot hear above 85 decibels), may have difficulty in
hearing conventional smoke alarms.

Specialised smoke alarms; consisting of a strobe light and/or vibrating pad, are
available for people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment. The cost of these
alarms, however, ranges between $400-$500; which can be in addition to the cost of
a regular, mains- or battery-powered smoke alarm.

This represents a clear financial disadvantage to the Deaf and hearing impaired
community of Western Australia.

To address this financial disadvantage, the Fire and Emergency Services Authority
of Western Australia (FESA) has established a Committee to develop a proposed
Deaf & Hearing Impaired Smoke Alarm Scheme. The purpose of the Scheme will be
to provide specialised Smoke Alarms (consisting of a strobe light and vibrating pad)
to the Deaf and Hearing Impaired Community at a reduced (or nil) cost.

In the process of developing this proposed Scheme, it is crucial that the Deaf and
hearing impaired community are comprehensively consulted from the start of the
Project.

Accordingly, FESA has developed the following, anonymous Survey to gain the
views, concerns and wishes, in relation to this Project, of Western Australians with a
hearing impairment.

FESA kindly requests that you take a few minutes to carefully consider each the
following Survey questions and provide your response in the spaces provided.

Please note that there is space provided in the Survey for you to offer any general
comments you may have about this Project.

Should you require any additional information or have any immediate concerns
regarding this Project, please do not hesitate to contact the Executive Officer:
     Adam Boyle, Executive Officer – Deaf & Hearing Impaired Smoke Alarm
     Committee
     Ph 08 9323 9816
     Fax 08 9323 9462
     Email adam.boyle@fesa.wa.gov.au


When you have completed the Survey, please return by email (simply click the
“submit by email” button at the top of the first page) or print the Survey and return by
post to:

     FESA
     Attn: Adam Boyle
     PO Box P1174
     Perth WA 6844


Alternatively, please hand your completed Survey back to the WA Deaf Society, WA
Association of the Deaf, Deafness Council of Western Australia Inc., or Better
Hearing Australia (WA).

FESA kindly requests that Surveys are completed and returned by 31 January 2010.


Thank you,




Adam Boyle
Executive Officer – Deaf & Hearing Impaired Smoke Alarm Committee
  DEAF & HEARING IMPAIRED SMOKE ALARM SURVEY
(Please note: completion of this survey does not require you to provide any personal
   details. All information collected will remain confidential and will only be made
  available to members of the Deaf & Hearing Impaired Smoke Alarm Committee)

  1. What is your level of Hearing Impairment:

             Profoundly Deaf (90dBHL – 120dBHL)

             Severely Deaf (70dBHL – 90dBHL)

             Mild Hearing Impairment (<70dBHL)


  2. What are your current living arrangements?

             I live alone in a house, flat or unit

             I live with one or more hearing impaired persons

             I live with one or more persons with no hearing impairment

             Other situation

      Please describe “Other Situation”:




  3. Do you have a regular or specialized smoke alarm installed in your permanent
     residence? (mark any of the following that apply)

             No, I have no smoke alarms installed

             Yes, I have one or more regular battery powered alarms installed

             Yes, I have one or more regular mains-powered alarms installed

             Yes, I have at least one specialized (Deaf/Hearing Impaired) smoke
             alarm installed



  4. If you currently have a specialized smoke alarm who provided it?

             Department of Housing

             Independent Living Centre

             Other (Rotary/LotteryWest/etc)
5. Do you have any other specialized alarms in your permanent residence?
   (mark any of the following that apply)

           No, I have no other specialized alarms installed

          Yes, I have a visual and/or vibrating alarm for the doorbell

          Yes, I have a visual and/or vibrating alarm for the telephone

          Yes, I have a visual and/or vibrating alarm for a security alert

          Yes, I have a visual and/or vibrating alarm for another purpose/s

          Other purpose/s:




6. If you answered yes to any of the above (Question 5), is it important that a
   smoke alarm works in conjunction with your existing specialized alarm, or
   would you be happy for a separate, ‘stand alone’ smoke alarm?

          Yes, I would prefer that the smoke alarm worked with my existing
          specialized alarm

          No, I would prefer to have a separate, stand alone system to alert/wake
          me if it detected smoke or fire


7. Victoria, Queensland and South Australia all have Schemes in place to assist
   Deaf & Hearing Impaired persons purchase specialized smoke alarms. These
   Schemes offer specialized smoke alarms either at reduced cost, nil cost or the
   full cost rebated.

   How would you like to see the WA Scheme operate:

          Nil cost of specialized alarm to applicant (a $400 unit supplied free)

          Reduced cost of specialized alarm to applicant (eg $50 for a $400 unit)

          Rebate after purchase of specialized alarm to applicant (eg $400
          rebate)
8. Our Committee’s initial research has determined that different States have
   different eligibility criteria (for level of hearing impairment) to access their
   Schemes. In the Western Australian scheme, where do you believe the “cut
   off” for hearing impairment should be set? That is, at what level of hearing
   impairment should people have access to the Scheme in WA?

          Profound Deafness (90dBHL – 120dBHL)

          Severe Deafness (70dBHL – 90dBHL)

          Mild Hearing Impairment (<70dBHL)


9. Some states, currently running smoke alarm schemes, require applicants to
   produce a Health Care card or meet some other low-income criteria. Do you
   believe the proposed WA Scheme should be means tested (that is: made
   available only to people with limited income)?

          Yes, the WA Scheme should be means tested.

          No, the WA Scheme should be open to any Deaf or Hearing Impaired
          person in WA, no matter what their financial situation.



10. If you were to apply for the WA Scheme, would you be able to provide
    documentation proving your level of hearing loss.

          Yes, I already have a letter/document from my Audiologist stating my
          level of hearing loss in dBHL.

          Yes, I already have a letter/document from my GP stating my level of
          hearing loss in dBHL.

          No, I would have to make an appointment with an Audiologist or GP to
          obtain proof of my hearing loss.



11. Different types of specialized alarms for Deaf and Hearing Impaired are
    available. Some are more portable than others. That is, you can take the
    alarm with you when you travel or stay with family or friends. How important
    is it that your specialized smoke alarm be portable?

          I would definitely require a portable alarm as I travel/visit regularly

          I would prefer a portable alarm as I travel/visit occasionally

          It is not important that the alarm is portable, as I don’t tend to leave my
          permanent residence
12. In other jurisdictions, their schemes are run by various agencies, not
    necessarily the local fire service. In WA, who do you believe should
    coordinate the Deaf & Hearing Impaired Smoke Alarm Scheme? That is, if
    you were to apply for the scheme, which agency would you prefer to deal with
    directly?

          FESA

          Disability Services Commission

          WA Deaf Society

          Deafness Council of WA

          Better Hearing Australia (WA)

          Independent Living Centre WA

          Other




13. New legislation was passed on 1 October 2009, which requires anyone selling
    or renting their property to install a mains-powered (hard-wired) smoke alarm.
    Do you envisage purchasing a property or signing a new rental agreement in
    the next 5 years?

          Yes, I plan to purchase a new property within the next 5 years

          Yes, I plan to sign a new rental agreement within the next 5 years

          No, I do not plan to purchase or rent a property within the next 5 years




          Thank you for taking the time to complete the Survey.