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New decal program aims to make life safer for hearing impaired

A new program being launched in Yellowknife is intended to make life safer for residents who suffer from hearing loss when they’re at home or in their vehicle. 

The local Canadian Hard of Hearing Association branch is hosting an open house Tuesday night where it’s expected to launch a new decal program aimed at people who have hearing impairments.

Bill Adkins, immediate past president of the Yellowknife branch, says the program is the brainchild of the Yellowknife Fire Division and local RCMP detachment.

The idea is to place decals on vehicles and front doors that belong to people who are hard of hearing so that first responders are aware of their condition in the event of an emergency.

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Adkins believes the program could go a long way in terms of helping people in times of need.

“That way either municipal enforcement or RCMP would have a better idea of why the person may not be responding normally from their perspective,” he said. “If they see that, they can take steps accordingly.

“In my own case, every year the condo association goes through the building and tests the fire alarm.

“It’s on for maybe two hours steady so I jokingly said, ‘I wonder what I could hear if I took my hearing aid out’ so I did and I couldn’t hear a thing.”

Adkins says he’s hoping to hand out decals during Tuesday’s open house. There will also be experts on hand to talk about the latest hearing apparatuses.

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The event will be held at the Baker Community Centre from 7:00 to 9:00pm.

Will decals make people targets?

Adkins admits not everyone is on board with the decal program. He says some people are concerned they could be taken advantage of if others know they’re hard of hearing.

“Some people might feel that this will make them a target,” he said. “If people feel that way, that’s fine. There’s no obligation whatsoever for people to do that.

“It’s just another way of helping people who have a hearing disability.”

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