Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Safety First

     Recently, I was working alone in my office building.  Normally it is full of college students, but nearly everyone had left for the summer to return to college.  My hearing aids were off so I could focus on writing a simple computer code.  The fire alarm went off.  Of course, I only heard a beeping sound, which sounded like it was from someone’s computer.  If my hearing aids had been on my ears, I would have heard the shrill voice of the alarm.  I didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary until people came back and a co-worker entered and asked “Were you inside for the entire drill?”  “Aaaaah!” 
     Yes, I definitely could have gotten into BIG trouble there.  Here are some things I could have done to avoid getting burned up in a building inferno.  These are things I will do and highly recommend for everyone.
  • Communicate with the health department or office at your company.  Sometimes offices will assign someone to help in case of evacuation, especially for people with physical disabilities (or in my case, people who won’t hear the fire alarm as a result of a hearing loss).
  • Communicate with your co-workers and tell them you cannot hear any alarm and so you will need to be alerted.  My co-workers who knew about my deafness were already at college that day.  I needed to inform the people who stayed about my deafness.
  • Move my desk to a place where I could see the fire alarm.  For example, from only two desks over I could see one of the building’s fire alarms.
  • Inquire with the facility manager if it is possible to install horns and strobes nearby.  That's what I have in my dorm room to alert me.
  • Lastly, but most importantly, wear my hearing aids!

     These suggestions are applicable everywhere - in an office, school, even hotels.  Most hotels have a “deaf kit” that includes fire alarm, alarm clock, and a hotel alert system for assistance in the case of emergency.
     Knowing when the fire alarm goes off is a critical safety skill.  You don't want to be in a burning building; not only is your life in danger, but anyone who comes to rescue you will also be put in danger.  Being proactive and knowing what to ask for and do in the event of an emergency situation is a critical skill that not only benefits you, but everyone else around you.
     Be safe!

Safety first, safety always!


  1. Hi Chloe! I don't wish to divulge to much information in a comment, so is there any way to email you or something? I got your blog recommended to me by a NM audiologist.

    1. Hi Anonymous! Sorry for the late reply (midterms you know!). You can contact me at hearchloe@gmail.com.


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