(Contributed by: Alexandra R.)
Technology: SafeAwake Fire Alarm Aid with bed shaker
Inventor: Harris Communications
How it works: This fire alarm aid system is composed of a transmitter which connects the device to a smoke detector, a set of white flashing lights, a vibrating device, and a sound emitter which emits a high-decibel, low-frequency alarm. In the event of a fire or in the presence of smoke, this smoke detector will send a signal to the SafeAwake Fire Alarm Aid, which then triggers the bright white lights to go off, the sound to be emitted, and the vibrating device (placed under the bed) to vibrate until the sleeper wakes up and turns it off .
Impact on Deaf Community: Fire safety and education is an issue that is barely addressed within the deaf community; in a 1999 report in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Fire Administration (USFA) highlighted the risks posed to deaf people, specifically, during a fire. Some possible issues that were posed relate to sign language and the fact that a dangerous fire left un-extinguished will fill a house with smoke, making communication difficult or impossible between the deaf person trapped inside and any firefighters or family members who may be attempting rescue . In 2007, a notable incident greatly impacted the deaf community of Moreno Valley in Southern California; Alex and Yandiri Valencia’s home was engulfed in flames after a candle had been left unattended and they’d fallen asleep in separate rooms. Despite the fact that Alex Valencia woke up amidst the flames and managed to escape, their house was not equipped with fire safety technology which would have prompted his wife, Yandiri, and her friend Missy, to wake up. Unfortunately, the two women died in the fire as a result of this . Technology such as the SafeAwake Fire Alarm Aid and other similar devices aim to prevent these issues from arising by alerting the deaf person that there is smoke present in the house before the fire gets to the point where it’s inextinguishable.
 Reston, Maeve. “Fire Deaths Shock Deaf Community.” Los Angeles Times, edited by Davan Maharaj, 4 Dec. 2007, articles.latimes.com/2007/dec/04/local/me-mobile4. Accessed 2 May 2017.
SafeAwake Fire Alarm Aid with Bed Shaker. Harris Communications, www.harriscomm.com/safeawake-fire-alarm-aid-with-bed-shaker.html. Accessed 2 May 2017. Advertisement.
 United States Fire Administration. Fire Risks for the Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing. FEMA, 1999.