LifeTone alarms available to hard-of-hearing residents

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 19, 2018

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Smoke detectors save lives. That’s been proven time and again.

But a smoke detector is pretty useless if a resident who is a deep sleeper or hard of hearing isn’t woken up by the alarm.

Bloomfield Township officials hope to chip away at that threat a little bit with more than 100 LifeTone alarm clocks that qualifying applicants can get from the township Fire Department at no charge.

The units work in conjunction with smoke detectors to alert users of a fire with bright, flashing lights; loud sirens; and vibrations to wake even the heaviest sleepers or those who can’t hear.

Lt. Ryan Husch, of the Bloomfield Township Fire Department, said the department applied for a $28,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase the alarms.

All that’s left now is to install them.

“You don’t even have to be a resident to get one. The idea is just that we have to verify that we installed it. We come over, put in new smoke detectors, test them and verify that it’s all working,” he said.

To date, there haven’t been any “bad outcomes” from residents who weren’t able to hear their smoke detector in an emergency, but Husch said he knows the need is there.

So does Bloomfield Township Senior Center Director Christine Tvaroha.

“Our community is 50 percent over the age of 50, and our fastest-growing demographic is those over the age of 85,” she said. “And many of them are living on their own.”

Tvaroha said a display featuring the alarms has been up at the Senior Center for a little over a week, and there’s been good interest from patrons. They’re able to see the alarm with its bright orange screen that flashes the word “fire” when engaged by a smoke detector, and they see the device that attaches to the user’s bed and pulsates with enough force to wake them up. The extra-loud alarm is another feature.

But that’s not the only resource they’ll find at the facility.

“Just call us. There’s so much we have here that we can offer residents over 50,” she said. “There’s minor home repair assistance, though that’s income based, but also transportation for medical appointments, transportation to the center, errand assistance, a telephone reassurance program — which is just a friendly call in the morning to check in and make sure they’re doing OK — and a host of other services. We’re here for people if we can just get them to reach out to us.”

LifeTone alarms can be obtained by calling Lt. Ryan Husch at (248) 433-7755.

Other services for seniors can be found by visiting the Bloomfield Township Senior Center at 4315 Andover Road in Bloomfield Hills or by calling (248) 723-3500.