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Proposed Deaf & Hearing Impaired Smoke Alarm Scheme
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
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
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
Ph 08 9323 9816
Fax 08 9323 9462
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
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.
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
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
4. If you currently have a specialized smoke alarm who provided it?
Department of Housing
Independent Living Centre
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
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
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
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
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
Disability Services Commission
WA Deaf Society
Deafness Council of WA
Better Hearing Australia (WA)
Independent Living Centre WA
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.