Day 1 of year 1 at UCLan – Deaf students are still at risk?

Day 1 of year 1 at UCLan – Deaf students are still at risk?

So it’s day one of my first year at uni (last year was foundation year). It feels really good to be back to be honest. Over summer, I felt kind of lost… like in limbo. Yeah, I’ve done loads of stuff over the summer, but there’s not been that “structure” that Uni seems to give me. I need a routine to keep my mind going.

So – I was up bright and early this morning as I knew I had a “Welcome to UCLan” address at 11am… I popped into Maccie’s for a breakfast bun and then walked into campus. Just as I’m picking up my deaf alerter for using during my first semster, I receive a text message from UCLan:

UCLan cancelled welcome address text message
UCLan cancelled welcome address text message

Having been here for my foundation year, it doesn’t surprise me – but to be honest, what sort of impression is that giving to new students? Cancelling their first timetabled event here. Yeah, it’s not as bad as last year when my first ever lectured event had no lecturer yet had a room full of students, but still – it’s not giving a good first impression.

I grabbed my Deaf Alerter from Security, and went and put the battery in it. 10 minutes later, whilst at the library, it went off. It told me that Hanover fire alarm had gone off. I popped off to meet a friend, and then came back to The Atrium. The Deaf Alerter went off again, this time saying there was a fire at Foster building. Each time, they were probably testing the fire alarms… but it brings back a concern that I had last year – where Deaf students stopped using the pagers because they were always going off during lectures.

Here’s a map of the campus, I’ve circled the four buildings, just so you can see how far the signal was sent:

The four buildings that show how far the signal has been sent, joined with a line so you can see which is which alarm activation.
The four buildings that show how far the signal has been sent, joined with a line so you can see which is which alarm activation.

This ultimately puts Deaf students at risk if they aren’t wearing their pagers. If they are somewhere alone (let’s say the loo, for example, or even in a quiet area somewhere across campus), then there’s not going to be anyone to let them know that there’s a fire. There is a risk of death – which there shouldn’t be in this day and age. In the event of a real fire, there’s also a risk to staff – in the leaflet that comes with the Deaf Alerter, it says that staff will be listening out for the noise that the Deaf Alerter makes – which if the student has left it on unattended, means that potentially staff are going to be in a building when they don’t need to be, by thinking there is a deaf person still in there, looking for them.

Yes, last year, I was working with UCLan to try and sort the problem out with the Deaf Alerters (and was in contact with the manufacturer), but it’s time people were aware of the issue – as it’s been going on for years; no one thought to actually do anything about it or let them know of the issues. I know previous deaf students from years and years ago, whom I’ve asked about the pagers also had the same issue with the system; which means ultimately students have been at risk for a very long time.

Update @ 12:30: UCLan are aware of the issue, and it has been passed to Estates, who will work with Deaf Alerter to try and reduce the false activation again.

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