The Yingisani Special School for the deaf in Tzaneen received a new fire alert system that will help children see when there is an emergency that requires evacuation.
Tzaneen, South Africa (08 September 2022) – Every school child is taught fire safety and experiences fire drills in case of an emergency, but for deaf children, fire safety and awareness is a very different lesson. Children at the Yingisani Special School in Tzaneen have been aided by the installation of a special system that helps alert them should there be a fire or any other emergency.
Fire systems are generally designed for hearing; smoke alarms and other alert systems all rely on loud, consistent sounds which go unheard by the deaf community. This poses a significant risk which is why Santam stepped forward to offer an alternative.
The Yingisani Special School has a boarding school environment that allows the children to have a fully immersive lifestyle while learning to sign. Unfortunately, being so close to the bush, the school’s location is prone to fires, floods, windstorms and other hazards. Managing these risks for deaf learners requires some careful intervention. Santam supported the school by installing smoke alarms attached to sirens, control panels and strobe lighting systems. The lights give the children the chance to see there is an issue and to evacuate the building quickly.
Matome Mohlagafazi is the chairperson of the school governing body and knows first-hand the struggles faced by the deaf community in rural areas. His daughter was born deaf, and he recounts the challenges he experienced with her frustration and anger as they battled to understand each other.
Now that she is enrolled and staying at the school, she feels understood, and he is learning sign language along with her so they can better communicate with each other.
Mr Mohlagafazi feels great comfort knowing that his daughter is not only receiving an education that will help her but that she is staying at a safety-conscious school that has the tools to keep the children alerted to any dangers.