New Smoke Detectors Work As 'Ears' For Hearing Impaired Oklahoma - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

New Smoke Detectors Work As 'Ears' For Hearing Impaired Oklahomans

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One program is changing and saving lives for the deaf and hearing impaired. One program is changing and saving lives for the deaf and hearing impaired.
George Canady went from walking to a wheelchair after having a stroke; that's also when his hearing became impaired. George Canady went from walking to a wheelchair after having a stroke; that's also when his hearing became impaired.
Oklahoma State Fire Protection Publications Assistant Director, Nancy Trench. Oklahoma State Fire Protection Publications Assistant Director, Nancy Trench.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Oklahoma is one of the deadliest states when it comes to death by house fire, according to government researchers, but a partnership at Oklahoma State University hopes to change those statistics.

One program is changing and saving lives for the deaf and hearing impaired, like George Canady, whose life has been changed due to Multiple Sclerosis.

“He is a really special person,” said Canady’s sister, Margie Raglin.

“I was 25 years old when I was diagnosed,” said Canady.

That was 22 years ago, and since, the MS has slowly progressed to the point where Canady needs around the clock care, which he gets from his sister and her family.

“This is the last little vestige of something he's owned, so we're happy to be here with him,” Raglin said.

Canady went from walking to a wheelchair after having a stroke; that's also when his hearing became impaired, but his condition hasn't broken his spirit.

“The one thing is my faith, I'm a Jehovah Witness,” Canady said. “Happy to be alive.”

He’s also happy to have some new technology that will work as his ears should a fire break out at home while he's sleeping.

“The fires that kill people in their homes happen at night while they're sleeping,” said Oklahoma State Fire Protection Publications Assistant Director, Nancy Trench. “If a fire happens during the daytime, most likely you helped start it, or you smell it, you hear it, you see it.”

It's called LifeTone, which hears the sound of a smoke alarm and sends out specialized alerts to warn the deaf and hearing impaired. A little round device is placed under the mattress, then, vibrates if smoke is detected.

Learn More About LifeTone

“I'm a light sleeper anyway, but I really can't sleep through that,” Canady said. “Yeah, yeah, it works, it works great.”

The $400 worth of equipment was given to Canady and installed for free through a temporary program at Oklahoma State University.

A FEMA grant allowed the school's Fire Protection Publications to partner up with Oklahoma ABLE Tech, to help those with hearing disabilities.

“Saving lives of people in Oklahoma,” Trench said.

She said in about a year's time, the devices they've installed have saved 16 people.

“Gives me that extra security,” Canady said.

An extra protection he's happy to have, but hopes he never has to use.

“You're right, you're right. Don't want to have to use 'em,” he said.

The program has installed the LifeTone system in 150 homes. There are enough devices to go into 100 more homes, but there's only about two months left to apply.

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