For my Deaf son, Alex, there’s no difference between a spider and a fire alarm. He understands what panic looks like, and he knows when I’m in one, but unless I sign why (which is difficult under the circumstances of real panic), then all he can do is wait until someone explains what the commotion is.
I could, and probably should, install special warning alarms in the house for him. The doorbell (first I’d have to get a doorbell) and the smoke detector are the two most obvious things to alert him of. I haven’t bothered yet because he’s never at home alone. And equipment is expensive. Just an alarm clock that either shakes the bed or lights up (which only works in the dark I’m guessing) …scratch that. I just looked up the cost of one at Walmart and he wants a Spiderman one. They don’t make them. On with a search.
But I digress. There are many circumstances in which a Deaf person can be caught short. Just two examples: alarms in hotels don’t normally exist for the Deaf, and a bomb threat in a shopping mall would leave a Deaf person who was out alone wondering which way to run. We don’t realize how much we rely on our hearing.
Again, another reason for having more people in society who know some sign language. So many things to advocate for, so little time.
The sign, in ASL for “fire”: https://www.signingsavvy.com/sign/FIRE/3459/1
My A to Z theme concerns the joys and challenges of being the hearing mother of my Deaf son, Alex. To learn more about his beginnings in life, click here to go to my first A to Z entry.