Installing flashing fire alarms in Japan


The Japan Times reports on a new initiative promoted by the central government of Japan to roll out flashing fire and emergency alarms to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Japan is well known as one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and is unfortunately also prone to a large number of natural disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, typhoons, and floods.

In this context, and with the aim of ensuring that people with hearing disabilities are well informed when evacuations are needed, the central government is calling for local municipalities to install more of these flashing alert devices in public spaces, including stations, airports and welfare facilities. The call comes from Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency, according to the article.

To date, visible fire alarms have only been installed in a limited number of places, including the international terminal of Tokyo’s Haneda airport and several welfare facilities across the country. Now, the aim is for them to be introduced at commercial facilities frequented by people with hearing impairments.

Chieko Yamashita, 69 years of age, chairs an association for the deaf in Tokyo’s Meguro ward and said that she hopes the devices would be rolled out further. Yamashita recently participated in an emergency drill with a flashing alarm and says that: “With strong flashing light, I immediately noticed that I needed to evacuate even though I was looking down.”

Source: The Japan Times