Free fire alarms for seniors

Sounds like a good deal: The fire department is giving seniors with hearing aids free Lifetones alarms. The devices use a flashing light and bed vibrator to alert hard-of-hearing seniors when their smoke alarms go off.
Brooklyn Daily
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Seniors in Southern Brooklyn have about two months left to take advantage of a city program that offers smoke alarms and special devices for the hard-of-hearing.

Local seniors who have already gotten the devices — installed for free by firefighters — say the service took only a few minutes and gives a welcome sense of security.

“It’s very nice to know that my house has this kind of insurance,” said Marine Park’s Eileen Dorinson, who recently had alarms installed in her home.

The devices detect both smoke and carbon monoxide and work for about a decade before they need to be replaced. Dorinson’s husband said he’s happy he no longer has to worry about changing batteries.

“I’ve been troubling with replacing batteries in smoke alarms for a long time,” said Joe Dorinson.

Those who have hearing problems also get a device that will vibrate their mattress when the alarm goes off, assuring they will be alerted even if they’re asleep.

The program is open to seniors aged 60 and older living in Community Boards 13, 15, and 18 — roughly between Seagate and Canarsie, said the FDNY’s Lt. Patrick Shannon at a recent meeting of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association.

Residents can call the department and request a visit, and the process is very simple, Joe Dorinson said.

“I called, and within two weeks, we had the alarm,” he said.

His wife said two department officials came to her home and installed three combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in about 15 minutes. They had everything needed, including a step ladder and a screwdriver, she said.

Seniors with hearing aids qualify for a device that syncs with smoke detectors to alert the hard-of-hearing, Shannon said. The machines flash lights and can make a bed vibrate to wake someone sleeping without a hearing aid, Shannon said.

The federal Department of Homeland Security has stumped up $590,000 to bankroll the fire alarm program to help seniors affected by Hurricane Sandy.

“This indicates that good things happened out of bad things,” Dorinson said.

The Fire Department aims to reach about 1,800, according to Shannon. The program is slated to end May 30, but the department may seek further funding, he said.

Dorinson recommended seniors take advantage while they can.

“It’s a great program, and of course, the best thing about it was it was free,” he said.

Seniors wanting to take advantage of the program should call (718) 281–3872

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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