Statewide program provides smoke alarms, bed shakers and strobes for hard of hearing individuals

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:39 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Sioux Falls Fire Rescue has already checked and helped install smoke alarms in 350 homes in 2023 so far. Its smoke alarm program is a partnership with the 211 Helpline Center and American Red Cross. Those organizations are now looking to expand that service to deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

MORE: Sioux Falls Fire Rescue asks for smoke alarm checks after recent fires

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is now offering help in providing bed shakers, ADA compliant strobe alarms, as well as working smoke alarms for those individuals. The statewide program is help paid for by donations to the American Red Cross. Individuals can reach out to the 211 Helpline Center to start the process of getting the needed alarms. From there, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue or other organizations across the state will coordinate an installation time.

“With the help of the American Red Cross and 211 Helpline Center, and our partners that are with the deaf or hard of hearing community, we’ve partnered up to make that accessible for everybody in South Dakota. Whether you live out in Presho, or where you live in Canton, South Dakota. If you need a smoke detector, or if you need a device to wake you up if you are deaf or hard of hearing, it’s never been easier just to call 211 or text them,” SFFR Fire Inspector Brandon Fey said.

211 Director Jamie Cody said coordinating the request for alarms and shakers is simple, and they’ve already spoken with folks that are thankful for the option.

“It kind of got our staff to stop and think, what would happen if there was a fire and someone wasn’t able to hear that? So it’s also been in our personal lives, gave us some intriguing insight on what others have to go through on a daily basis,” Cody said.

As soon as the announcement was made, it was sent out to people all over South Dakota thanks to South Dakota Services for the Deaf.

“We sent it out to over a thousand people, and we’ve heard very, very good feedback on how great this program is,” SDSD Sioux Falls Service Coordinator Kami Van Sickle said.

Each organization wanted to thank those who donate to the American Red Cross, as those individuals help pay for the alarms as well.

“We have 1,500 documented saves from the smoke alarms we’ve installed nationwide so far. Our goal is to save lives and cut down on the seven people dying in fires every day. This program is statewide, so we can get smoke alarms into those houses in South Dakota for people that need them,” Rob Reuland said, American Red Cross Disaster Program Manager for Eastern South Dakota.