Recommendation for vibrating alarm for deaf college student

Hi. My wife and I are sending our deaf son off to a small college in Maryland in August (we live in Florida). The college physical plant personnel tell us that his dorm’s building-wide fire system was manufactured by Pyrotronics and is a Model System 3 that has a 24 volt strobe above the inside of the door. They said there is also a 120 volt smoke detector with strobe local only to the room. I know next to nothing about fire alarms but am interested in providing him an alarm that will vibrate his bed, preferably when the building-wide system goes off. He can’t hear a typical alarm in his own room and sleeps like a typical 18 year old boy so the strobe may not be enough. We don’t want to count on his hearing roommate always being there and we can’t send the family dog with him. Someone directed me to this forum and thought ya’ll might be able to point us in the right direction. Any help would be appreciated.


Welcome to the forum!

Try this – It is designed to listen for the high frequency that a smoke alarm produces and when it hears that frequency, it activates the bed shaker.

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Great. I’ll check it out right away. Thanks for the help!

Here is a link to an NFPA page on the subject. Many of the accessory devices listen for the temporal code 3 audible alarm from a fire alarm system or stand alone smoke detector. You would have to confirm with the college that such signaling is present.

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Be sure you test it first, should have no problem responding to the local smoke alarm. It may not work with the fire alarm; you should also ask someone in the physical plant if they could sound the building fire alarm to make sure it can respond to that. If it does not respond then they have to install a horn in your son’s dorm that puts out the proper frequency.

Will do. Thanks, again. This literally could be a lifesaver for us.

The best way to handle this would be to have someone else responsible for checking on your son during a fire alarm event (not just his roommate), like the RA on his floor. I’ve actually worked on a fire alarm system for a school for the deaf before and that was basically their fire alarm plan, strobes in every room to wake up most of the people but then monitors to check every room during/after evacuation to catch anyone else.

If the college is footing the bill to become ADA compliant, have them install a bed shaker activated by both a local smoke detector and the building fire alarm system. I’ve seen a lot of HARC systems or something similar going into new hotels to meet ADA requirements for the hard of hearing and deaf, these systems cover fire alarms as well as doorbells, alarm clocks, phones, etc. ( This would be the expensive route to go though.