Gen­eros­ity eases chil­dren’s fire fears

North Taranaki Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - CHRIS­TINE WALSH

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

SUP­PLIED

The Earl sib­lings Benji, 9, Sadie, 7, and Olivia, sleep easy with the new smoke alarms.

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