OP Fire Dept Hosting Fire-Prevention Class

HLAA KC invites those with hearing loss and their families to learn fire safety from the Overland Park Fire Department.   Discussion will include what families can do to survive a fire and how to make sure they never have a fire.   Do you know that a fire doubles in size every 30 seconds to 1 minute?   Typically from the first flame you have about 1 ½ – 3 minutes to make it out your front door.   After that, you are looking at escaping through the windows.  Have you looked out your windows, planned escape route and how you are going to be able to get out safely?

A 25 minute film will be shown that is open-captioned, signed and voiced.  The speaker will address the audience for about 30 minutes. There will be an agenda to follow the topics of discussion.  If necessary, the OPFD speaker will use a camera to project herself onto a big screen in the front of the classroom.  The speaker will be on a microphone, speak slowly and check often to ensure she is being understood.

The film explains the type of smoke alarm OPFD have in stock.   The OPFD offers a smoke alarm, which are available to any Overland Park resident with a hearing loss.  There is no charge and OPFD will come out and install the alarm in your home.   When a fire happens, the alarm will still make an audible sound for anyone who may be hearing in the home, but they also activate a strobe light and will shake the bed to alert of fire. The alarm is interconnected but wireless.

Everyone should be testing his or her smoke alarms once a month.  There is a button on the alarm you push that should test the alarm for you.  On some of the smoke alarms, you have to push a small pen – or something like a paper clip end – into a small hole on the alarm to test that it is working and it then activates the alarm, strobe light and bed shakers.

If you are a renter, are you aware the landlord is responsible for supplying a working smoke alarm upon move in? When someone is going through the final walk-thru before moving in, they can simply push the test button and make sure the alarm is working, if not, then they should notify the landlord immediately, and the landlord is responsible to fix it. After a tenant has moved in, the tenant is responsible for testing their smoke alarm once a month and changing the batteries in it as needed. If a smoke alarm is not fully hooked up it will not respond to the test button.

On the night of the class, contact information will be taken for anyone needing the smoke alarm.   Then the fire department educator will contact you via phone or email to arrange a time for a crew to come to your home to install the alarm.

HLAA KC asks you to RSVP by Wednesday, March 14th.   If we have over 30 people, the fire department will arrange a larger room that can hold up to 200 people.  OPFD needs several working days notice to obtain the larger room.  This is why we need RSVP the Wednesday beforehand, although the class is not until Monday the 19th.   We also need RSVP so we can have enough handouts prepared as the fire station education specialist is printing up agendas for everyone.

Please RSVP on our Facebook Page or if you rather email to hlaakc@gmail.com by Wednesday, 03/14/12 and let us how many will be attending.

WHEN:  Mon, March 19, 7:30-8:30pm or however long it takes to finish up

WHERE: Overland Park Fire Department Training Center

12401 Hemlock, Room 100
Overland Park, KS 66213

                  FIRE DEPT PUBLIC EDUCATION SPECIALIST – 913-895-8403


Save the Date – Gael Hannan is Speaking in May!

Gael Hannan

HLAA-KC is very excited to present a FREE seminar featuring Gael Hannan and her well-known topic: “The Masks of Hearing Loss: Bluffing 101.” Every person with hearing loss “bluffs,” pretending to understand what’s going on, even when they don’t. Some of us do it on occasion, while some of us move from one bluff moment to another! This amusing workshop looks at why and when we bluff, why we should or shouldn’t, and how we can ban the bluff in our lives.

Gael Hannan is a writer, actor and public speaker who grew up with a progressive hearing loss that is now severe-to-profound. You can read more about Gael at her website.

We’ll be Skyping live with Gael on location.
CART (real-time captioning) will be provided by 20/20 captioning.

This seminar will be held Saturday, May 5, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Location: KU Edwards Campus, Regnier Hall, Room 153, 12600 Quivira Road, Overland Park, KS 66213. We have a Facebook event set up also, if you plan to attend, let us know there!

Driving directions are available here. A map of the KU Edwards Campus is below (click to enlarge the map).

Here is a flyer of the event, if you’d like to print it off and pass the word on.

We’d like to thank our sponsors who made this event possible:

Hearing-Loss and Safe Driving

If you have a hearing loss, what things do you strive to do to be a safe driver?   After participating in a group chat on the subject, here are some of the highlights.

If a hearing person is passenger and you want to freak them out, drive and read lips and soon they will offer to drive next time (smiling).

Others really dislike driving carpool of kids, while another uses a baby rearview mirror to see others in the back seats.

One woman quipped her husband does not like the way she drives, so she tells him he has to drive her.

One suggested using a mic if there is one passenger and says it works great.

Do you have a visor card to show police if you are stopped?   From Hearing Loss Help you can download your own free visor cards (there is a deaf version and a hard of hearing version) and the instructions on how to properly use them. I am not one to put my hearing status on display for all the world to see taking a risk someone would take advantage of that piece of knowledge.  So….maybe just use visor card for night driving so my “hearing” eyes won’t be blinded by a policeman’s flashlight.

Another smart habit is to always make sure ignition key is in off position before turning key to start engine in case engine is already running and you do not hear the motor.  More modern motors running sometimes are not detected as much as older models.

It is a great idea to carry a spare key in wallet if you can’t hear the audible tones to remind you that your key is still in the ignition when you are about to leave your vehicle.

Funny, my son questioned, “deaf people don’t really drive, do they?”  I am thinking, who do you think has been driving you around all these years?   Hearing loss is invisible even to those that we live with daily.   Our eyes do much of the task of driving. Be safe and especially alert to staying visually alert “seeing” the sounds you can’t hear.

You haven’t missed anything yet….

Got a weekend day free?  HLAA and The Whole Person will have our movie day coming up on February 18th!

Free movies are awesome and we’ll have a captioned film of Mr. Holland’s Opus set up for your viewing pleasure, along with some water and popcorn.  Bring some snacks if you would like.  Come on out to the Prairie Village office of The Whole Person for a big screen viewing!

Saturday, February 18, 2012 – Doors open at 2pm
Captioned movie of “Mr Holland’s Opus

Map: The Whole Person – 7301 Mission Rd., Building A, Suite 135 , Prairie Village, KS 66208

Please RSVP so we have enough seats and supplies!  Either email us at hlaakc@gmail.com or join the Facebook event!


Nominations for the Hamilton Relay 2012 Better Hearing and Speech Month Recognition Award

It’s that time of the year! Hamilton Relay is in search of candidates for their 2012 Better Hearing and Speech Month Award! The winner will be announced in May, during the Better Speech and Hearing Month. Below is some information from the Kansas Outreach Coordinator, Cady Lear, and a questionnaire that you can fill out and submit, if you have a candidate you’d like to nominate.

We are looking for individuals who are hard of hearing, late deafened or who have difficulty speaking and who have been a positive influence in Kansas demonstrating commitment to advocacy, leadership and enhancing the lives of those around them.  The award will be presented during Better Hearing and Speech month in May. 

Is there someone you wish to nominate? 

A questionnaire is attached to assist in providing information about your candidate, including a brief description about the individual and what this person has done that causes you to nominate him/her. Please send your nominations directly to me by March 12th via e-mail, fax or by mail.  My contact information is included below.

Celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month through the recognition of community leaders is something we look forward to each year.  Thank you in advance for your participation in nominating deserving individuals from your community.  We are eager to learn more about the community leaders in Kansas.


Cady Lear
Kansas Outreach Coordinator
785-228-5666 (office)
785-246-5105 (vp)
785-234-2304 (fax)
4848 SW 21st Street Suite 201
Topeka, Ks 66604


2012 BHSM nomination questionnaire

There are so many potential candidates out there. we hope you will nominate someone!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Miss Deaf America Ambassador will sign the national anthem…

So, it’s practically the next great American holiday – Super Bowl Sunday, where National Football League (the football with shoulder pads and touchdowns, not the footy-ball with shin pads and goalies) takes over Sunday and Americans watch to see who is the champion for this past year’s season. Personally, while I like football well enough, I try not to get caught up in the hype and end up doing other things like watching the Puppy Bowl.

The game this year will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana.  For those of you who haven’t been following some political events in Indiana, there’s a hullabaloo going on over a bill numbered HB1367.  Without touching on some of the more controversial parts of the bill, the summary is that responsibility for outreach for deaf education to children in Indiana would be moved from where it currently is at Indiana School for the Deaf to a supposedly more neutral organization that would better be able to present options to families.  I want to make it clear that HLAA has not taken a formal stance on the bill, but I personally am watching the outcome closely to see what to expect going forward.

So, anyway, controversial bill aside, there is a national spotlight on hearing loss with the super bowl – the current Miss Deaf America Ambassador, Rachel Mazique, will be signing the national anthem before kickoff at 5:30pm CT today.  I believe that the National Association for the Deaf teamed up with Pepsi to make this happen, so excellent stuff!

Have fun today!

January Meeting Recap

Thanks to Kansas School for the Deaf , St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf, and Teltex for joining us at our January meeting!  All three groups had lots of great information to share regarding their organizations.  Their presentations and the transcript (courtesy of 20/20 Captioning and Reporting) are located in our white-papers section of the blog.

Please keep checking our calendar and blog for event updates!