Do You Fear Hotel Fires?

Whenever I see a news report about a hotel fire, my blood runs cold. I have to travel regularly for work, with overnight stays, and I worry a lot about what would happen to me if there was a fire while I was asleep. (This is a fear which will be alleviated when I get a Hearing Dog but in the meantime, it’s a real concern of mine. It also drove me to found my business Access Solutions.)

Deafgard by Fireco
Image of Deafgard with kind permission of Fireco

Without my hearing aids — such as when in the shower or while sleeping — I wouldn’t be alerted by a standard fire alarm, so I need something which flashes (in the bathroom) and something which flashes/vibrates when I’m in bed.

Whenever I go to stay in a hotel, I always ask for a flashing/vibrating fire alarm and when they can’t provide one, I worry about what would happen if there was a fire.  Would someone risk their life to come and get me?

When I give talks (to hearing people) about living with hearing loss, I often remark that when you’re diagnosed with hearing loss or when you’re fitted with a hearing aid, you’re not then taken to another room and shown all the assistive technology that’s available to you. (Well, not in my experience anyway!)

This is why many people with severe/profound hearing loss might not know about flashing/vibrating fire alarms, let alone know about their rights to request one when staying away from home. Did you know about these devices?  Have you ever used one?


Despite it being law in the UK for hotels to provide such devices for deaf/deafened guests, there have been many instances since becoming deafened where the hotelier has not been able to provide me with one and they have been seemingly unaware of their legal responsibilities. (In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 and UK fire legislation both demand that provision is made for disabled people staying in what they refer to as ‘paid sleeping accommodation’.)

It’s the same for self-catering accommodation in the UK: they too are obliged to provide deaf/deafened guests with the appropriate safety equipment and an evacuation plan but all too often the fire safety risk assessments I’ve seen refer only to people with mobility issues and visual impairment but not to people with hearing loss or people who are Deaf. Does this worry you if you’re away from home alone — or if you and your partner both have severe/profound hearing loss?

I’d be interested to hear your experiences of the fire safety equipment you’ve been offered while away from home, wherever in the world you’ve been. I’m writing from here in the UK but, from my travels, l know that not all countries insist on smoke alarms being fitted in holiday accommodation, so I’m interested to learn more of your experiences. <!– Please share here or on the Phonak Facebook page. –>

2 thoughts on “Do You Fear Hotel Fires?”

  1. Hi my son and daughter in law are both deaf
    He has 2 Phonak hearing aids and she has a CI
    They travel a lot and have been in different countries
    Switzerland , USA, France, Spain, Austria and Germany
    It has always worked out in every hotel us until they went to Germany, there they told me they will not take any responsibility if something happens. They have no idea what to do with deaf persons
    I always call the hotels they are staying in to inform them that they will be having 2 deaf geusts

    So we changed the hotel
    What a disgrace!

    In one hotel they got a light system as we have at home

    I think it’s a great problem and there is not enough awareness to how dangerous it could be

    We live in Switzerland and here the people are more or less open to at least hear my problem

    Thanks for sharing your experience too


  2. I am in America and have Single Sided Deafness. I too don’t sleep well in hotels or any unfamiliar surrounding. I am blessed with spouse who assist me daily and wish she could always travel with me.
    I did not realize that this type of technology is available but will check on it next time I stay in a hotel. Thank you!

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