Airport's Innovation for Alerting People with Hearing
Loss in an Emergency
Editor: If people with hearing loss are supposed to have equal access
in public places, why is there STILL no system in place to provide
decent communications in airports? I don't have a good answer for that,
but there is encouraging news coming from England. The Birmingham
airport has recently introduced a device that may evolve into a very
capable system. Here's the report from the Birmingham Post. Our thanks
for their permission to share this with you.
Birmingham International Airport has become the first in the UK to
introduce an innovative alerter system for passengers, visitors and
staff who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The £22,000 Deaf Alerter system notifies the user via a small
hand-held unit, known as an alerter, in the event of a fire alarm
Permanently connected to the airport's fire alarm system, Deaf
Alerter responds immediately to an alarm activation and transmits a
message simultaneously to each alerter.
Once triggered, the alerter will vibrate and flash to attract the
wearer's attention and will continue until the person is outside the
It is anticipated that in the future the system will be programmed to
provide flight and boarding information.
Cathy Hill, general manager of customer services for BIA, said:
"This initiative demonstrates our commitment to making BIA safer
and more accessible for people with disabilities.
"Over the years we have invested in a number of facilities to
assist deaf and hard-of-hearing people, including textphones, a minicom
system and induction loops. Furthermore, a number of our employees have
learnt the art of sign language to help to communicate with our
passengers and ease their journey."
She added: "I'm so happy that we can now provide this new
system, which will ultimately give our deaf and hard-of-hearing
passengers and our employees more freedom and confidence whilst they are
at Birmingham Airport."
Bryan Sheppard, chief executive of BID Services with Deaf People in
Birmingham, praised the airport for its commitment to helping deaf and
hard of hearing people.
"BIA has constantly been at the forefront of ensuring equality
for deaf people with disabilities - being the first airport in the UK to
introduce this system proves this commitment."
Deaf Alerter's technical director, Martyn Coldicott, added:
"Deaf Alerter is delighted to have been able to assist BIA in their
efforts to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act, by making
their services accessible to deaf passengers."