Generosity eases children’s fire fears
When alarm bells are ringing common sense usually tells us something’s up.
But have you ever wondered how you hear a smoke alarm, or even an alarm clock, if you are deaf?
These questions posed two very real challenges for siblings Sadie and Benji Earl who were born deaf and have cochlear implants.
The youngsters mum, Nicola Earl, said theirs was an average Kiwi family who had been thinking about the importance of deaf smoke alarms for a while.
Fortunately the Te Karaka Foundation offered a generous solution with a grant that provided both children with specially designed smoke alarms and alarm clocks. When the devices are triggered they create vibrations in their beds and flash lights on the clock to grab their attention.
‘‘Customised devices like these are not cheap and they have been on our wish list for some time,’’ the mum-of-three said.
Nicola said as her kids got older it was important they gained more independence. This was another way they could do that and the fire alarms helped ease the worry they had expressed in the past.
‘‘Now if there is a fire I can get warning about it in the house instead of not knowing what’s going on,’’ Benji, 9, said. ‘‘Im not worried about that anymore.’’
‘‘The alarm is easy to use because there aren’t too many buttons, but I find it easy to learn new things anyway,’’ Sadie, 7, said.
For big sister Olivia, in the case of a fire, now she will not be left to her own devices to follow the family fire plan as her parents attend to her siblings. ‘‘It’s cool that now we all feel safe,’’ Olivia said.
The Earls learnt of the grants through the Parents of Deaf Children Taranaki group. It provides opportunities for deaf children and their families, run events and share information and resources to support families of deaf children.
‘‘Through the generosity of one of our donors, Te Karaka was able to establish a fund for people with hearing and visual impairments and we’re delighted with the interest in the grants from the community,’’ said Te Karaka chairman Ken Horner.
Te Karaka is Taranaki’s community foundation connecting generous people with the people, projects and charitable causes. www.tkf.org.nz
The Earl siblings Benji, 9, Sadie, 7, and Olivia, sleep easy with the new smoke alarms.