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As deadly fires increase, state officials look to equip Hoosiers with smoke detectors

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — State fire investigators say the cause of the fire that killed six people, including four children, in Logansport last month cannot be determined.

What is clear is that the home didn’t have any working smoke detectors that may have alerted the family when the fire broke out. Fire officials say they’re now working on a plan that would use federal grant money to help prevent more Hoosier deaths by supplying thousands of residents with smoke detectors

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security received nearly $1.3 million thanks to a combination of federal grants. The money will allow IDHS to access more equipment and training for firefighters and first responders, purchase and install more than 10,000 smoke detectors and 1,000 shaking bed/strobe alarms for deaf and increase education about fire hazards.

“It’s our responsibility to make sure the residents and the citizens of Indiana have a way to protect themselves in their homes,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson.

Greeson says over the past few years, the number of fatal fire deaths has increased in the Hoosier State. In 2017, there were 72 deaths; this year there have already been 85 with a few weeks remaining. It’s particularly disturbing as the winter months are typically the time when fire deaths increase.

“That’s almost 160 fire deaths in two years. In three years it’s over 200 fire deaths,” Greeson said.

Nationally, more than two-thirds of fatal fires occur in homes with no smoke detectors or detectors that did not function properly.

“It’s the top target of our agency and our division to make sure we get these smoke alarms out to the state of Indiana,” Greeson said.

Greeson knows placing working smoke detectors in Hoosier homes can help reduce those numbers. Now he says the important job is getting them to those who need them the most.

“We want to be successful, we want to bring these numbers down,” he said.

Along with the smoke detectors, Greeson says IDHS is also working to create a heat map that would help identify areas of the state with high amounts of fire fatalities. The hope is the map can help the agency target prevention and education efforts.

Greeson says now that the agency has been awarded the grant money, it can purchase the smoke detectors. Hoosiers will then be able to visit this website and request one.

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A Tuba Christmas” comes back to the Capitol Theatre for the 15th year to support the New York State School for the Deaf.

ROME, N.Y. – “A Tuba Christmas” comes back to the Capitol Theatre for the 15th year to support the New York State School for the Deaf.

26 tubas were heard on the Capitol Theater stage in Rome Tuesday night, all to benefit the school for the deaf. A packed auditorium full of family, friends, and neighbors from all around the area enjoyed two hours of classic Christmas music, played by tubas and euphoniums. Players and their instruments were all decked out in holiday attire.

This is the 15th year the theater has hosted the annual “A Tuba Christmas” event and organizers say each year the crowd gets bigger and bigger.

The concert was free to the public, but the players each had to pay $10 to play which got them a pin and their music for the night. Those proceeds, along with popcorn, beverages and raffle ticket purchases were all to raise money for the school for the deaf’s music program.

“It’s a little more complicated and they need a little more help teaching and having music that’s used for the deaf and vibrations and stuff so they can get the right equipment for the kids to learn,” volunteer, Cindy Seiter, said. 

The New York State for the Deaf Handbell Choir and Sign Choir accompanied the band by signing some of their favorite songs.  “A Tuba Christmas” events are held all over the country.

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Pledge to continue funding for blind and deaf services for another 12 months

Northamptonshire County Council will continue its £70,000 funding for two services that assist blind and deaf people for a further 12 months.

A four-week consultation by the council asked service users what impact cuts to Northamptonshire Association for the Blind (NAB) and DeafConnect would have on them, with the feedback being that the services significantly helped to reduce levels of social isolation and escalating health needs.

The NAB service includes advice, guidance and support to help users cook safely and get out and about for shopping.
And DeafConnect helps deaf and hard of hearing adults to continue to live independently in their own home, with their family or carer and offers advice, support, and access to specialist equipment and interpreting services.

Raelene Hill lost her eyesight rapidly, and hugely values the service that NAB provides to her.

She travelled from Kettering to One Angel Square, alongside her guide dog, to tell councillors: “I would not be here without these services.

“The thought of the funding cuts, even though there might be a reprieve this year, is leading to people losing sleep over this because it’s really a big thing for people who have lost their sight.

“I want you to have an understanding of how big the NAB services are for us, and I’m amazed at the services they provide. I gather it’s not the biggest contribution from the council, but it means so much. I’m petrified of losing it.”

Cabinet member for adult social services, Councillor Sandra Naden-Horley, said the consultation was ‘more about the outcomes that they achieve’.

She said: “It’s good to look at whether these organisations are the best to be delivering these services going forward. The consultation was comprehensive and we have opted to continue the services for the next 12 months.

“We are not stopping the funding, we are going to continue it and hopefully when the unitary authorities come along they will have a big impact in terms of involvement and funding.”

Labour county councillor Anjona Roy added: “It’s really positive that the decision has been taken to extend the funding for these two essential organisations.”

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Quapaw bladesmith is first Deaf contestant on ‘Forged in Fire’

A Quapaw knife maker who hasn’t heard much from the time he was hit in the head with a hammer as a small boy is making sure people are hearing a message from him.

Norman “Buddy” Thomas will realize one of his biggest dreams this week as he appears on History Channel’s “Forged in Fire” at 9 p.m. Wednesday. He is the first deaf contestant to appear on the bladesmithing challenge program.

In each episode, four of the world’s top bladesmiths put their skills and reputation on the line for a chance at a $10,000 prize. They are asked to turn raw materials into anything from war hammers to specialty knives or swords, which are put through a battery of tests for sharpness and durability and with style and craftsmanship all judged by top experts.

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How deaf researchers are reinventing science communication

What do synapses actually look like? Or macrophages, the cleanup crew of the bloodstream? Can you picture the process of metastasis, the spread of cancerous cells through the body? Science can feel pretty abstract in English: the words themselves don’t teach you much about the concepts they describe. They’re just necessary bits of jargon to be memorized. But some researchers are finding ways to translate this complex language and make it more accessible.

Lorne Farovitch is a graduate student in translational biomedical sciences at the University of Rochester (a jargon-y sounding program if ever there was one), and he’s working to turn science jargon on its head. Lorne is deaf — his first language is American Sign Language, or ASL. For deaf scientists like Lorne, ASL has the power to turn abstract, jargon-laden concepts into rich, visual representations. The ASL sign for DNA, for example, could be the three letters D, N, and A in quick succession — or, it could be this:

Lorne is involved in a couple of ambitious projects called ASLCORE and ASL Clear, each aimed at creating new ASL signs for the “STEM” disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math). It’s urgent work for the deaf community: without access to the right terms, discussing, say, mitochondria means spelling out M-I-T-O-C-H-O-N-D-R-I-A in sign language — an often tedious process known as fingerspelling. With the right ASL terms, on the other hand, science comes alive for deaf students in a way that it couldn’t possibly in English.

Verge Science visited Lorne at his lab in Rochester, New York, and got a firsthand look at some of the new science sign language in circulation. Check out the video above to see for yourself.

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Morris to host world-class training program for deaf curlers

The project, beginning in spring 2019, is aimed at providing facilities for Canadian deaf and hard of hearing athletes.

World-class training facilities for deaf curlers will soon be open in Morris.

The Canadian Deaf Sports Association (CDSA) announced Monday that Morris Curling Club will be the home of the first national deaf curling training centre.

The project, beginning in spring 2019, is aimed at providing facilities for Canadian deaf and hard of hearing athletes an opportunity to train for international competitions, including the Deaflympics and World Championships.

“This ground-breaking partnership will allow deaf and hard of hearing curlers of all ages from the beginner to the elite to fine-tune their skills to learn a lifetime sport,” said Lorne Hamblin, a level 4 Olympic curling coach.