County Executive Mike Hein Announces New Fire Safety Initiative

Posted February 27, 2018

The Program Will Provide and Install Specialized Smoke Alarms For Families With Hearing Impaired Children

Kingston, NY – Ulster County Executive Mike Hein is pleased to announce the Ulster County Smoke Alarm Installation Initiative, which provides free installation of specialized Silent Call smoke detectors to families with hearing impaired children. For those with severe hearing impairments traditional smoke alarms which rely on sound do not work, however, Silent Call smoke detectors transmit a signal within a 100-foot radius, using vibration to alert the child if a fire occurs. The project is the result of a partnership between County Executive Mike Hein and the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs (NYSAFC) to reduce fire-risk and injury and help ensure the safety of some of the County’s most vulnerable populations. The Ulster County Department of Emergency Management implemented the project and collaborated with Ulster-BOCES to distribute the smoke detectors. The NYSAFC’s has provided a limited number of the smoke detectors, but the County Executive is committed to providing funding to ensure that families with children who have severe hearing impairment can receive them.

Michael P. Hein, Ulster County Executive

“As a parent, I urge every Ulster County resident to make sure they have a working smoke alarm at home and for families with children who have a hearing impairment, to ensure they have these specialized smoke detectors,” said County Executive Hein. “These units have additional components to wake the child and alert them of a fire and can potentially make all the difference between life and death. The evidence is clear that having a working smoke detector greatly increases one’s ability to survive a fire and this program makes sure they are available for everyone.”

Tammy Schaeffer, Parent of two children who received specialized smoke detectors

“This is an amazing program for the community, especially for my children who are both legally deaf and rely on their cochlear implants, but do not wear them at night,” said Tammy Schaeffer a Highland mother who received two of the Silent Call smoke detector systems. “Now, I am comforted that in case of a fire my children have smoke detectors that can alert them to the danger.”

Having a working smoke detector can cut the risk of fire-related deaths in the home by as much as 50%, while almost 40% of fire-related deaths in the home occur at properties without smoke detectors. Statistics show that 3 out of every 5 fire-related deaths in the home occur at properties without working smoke detectors.  According to the National Institutes of Health, about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.

Households with hearing-impaired children, may be eligible to receive a free smoke detector and have it professionally installed. To learn more about fire safety please call Ulster County Fire Coordinator Everett Erichsen at 845-334-5720.


Pictured above (from left) - Fire Chief Peter Miller, Highland Fire Dept.; Ulster County Executive Mike Hein; Everett Erichsen, Ulster County Deputy Director Emergency Services & Fire Coordinator; Steven Peterson, Ulster County Director of Emergency Services; and the children of Tammy Schaeffer.