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Moving away from home

Photo: There are lots of types of technology that can help you live independently.

Whether you're going away to university, moving to a new city for work or just want your own place, moving out of your parents' home for the first time is a big step. As a deaf young person, there are a few things you'll need to think about to make sure you're safe and comfortable in your new home. 

Fire safety

Before you move into any new home, it’s important to make sure you’ll be alerted in the event of a fire. You can ask your local fire and rescue service to visit your home to check that your fire alarm systems are working, and give advice about what kind of alarms would work for you. Use the National Fire Chiefs Council website to find your local service.

In some areas, if you're severely or profoundly deaf, your local fire and rescue service can provide and install flashing and vibrating smoke detectors  free of charge. You can also get them online, from shops like Connevans or from charities. Remember to test the alarm regularly, with your hearing technology off and eyes closed, and make sure the alarm covers all the rooms of your home. 

If you’re moving into university halls, ask your accommodation provider to install a flashing and vibrating fire alarm before you move in. 

Emergency SMS

EmergencySMS is a service which lets you contact 999 by text instead of by calling on the phone. They’ll give your message to the police, ambulance, fire service or coastguard.

You will need to register your mobile phone before you can use emergencySMS. To register your phone:

  1. Text “REGISTER” to 999.
  2. You will get a text message back.
  3. Read the message and make sure you understand it.
  4. Reply “YES” to 999.
  5. You will get a text to confirm that you’re registered.

Once you’re registered with emergencySMS, never text 999 unless it’s an emergency.

If you’re in an emergency, text 999 to tell them what service you need, what the emergency is and your address. For example:

“Ambulance. Man having a heart attack. Outside post office. Valley road Watford.”

Visit emergencySMS to find out more.

999 BSL

999 BSL is a new service that lets BSL users communicate with the emergency services through an interpreter. You can use it either by downloading the 999 BSL app, or by using the 999 BSL website. If you're not connected to WiFi and have run out of data, your mobile network should still let you connect because 999 BSL is an emergency service.

To use 999 BSL:

  1. Open the app or visit the 999 BSL website.
  2. Press the big red button that says, ‘Call 999 Emergency now’.
  3. This will open a video chat with a BSL interpreter. They will ask you where you are and which emergency service you need – police, ambulance, fire brigade or the coastguard.
  4. The interpreter will help you talk to the 999 operator. They will ask you lots of questions about what is going on. Try and stay calm, give them as much information as you can and follow their instructions.
  5. The 999 operator will quickly send you the help you need.

Trying out technology

If you’re moving away from home for the first time, you might need more technology than you did when you lived with your family. As well as a flashing fire alarm, you might also want to try other equipment like a flashing doorbell, a vibrating alarm clock or an adapted baby alarm to let you know when your baby’s crying. Your local authority or deaf service might loan these free of charge, so contact them to find out what’s available in your area. 

Our guide, How technology can help: For deaf young people age 19 to 25, gives more information about the different kinds of technology you might find helpful at work, home or when socialising. 

Living with housemates

Living in a shared house or flat is usually cheaper than living on your own, and it can be really fun! Here are some tips to help you have a good relationship with your housemates.

  1. If you didn’t know your new housemates before you moved in, explain that you’re deaf as soon as possible. This will mean your housemates know to get your attention if there’s an emergency – and why you might not say hello if you bump into them on the way to the shower, when you don't have your hearing technology in!
  2. Some of your everyday activities might make noises that you’re not aware of, such as using an electric toothbrush or running the washing machine. These activities might be disruptive to hearing housemates if you do them late at night. If there are some noises you don’t hear, ask your housemates to let you know if you’re making too much noise. This can help you avoid awkward situations or disagreements in the future.
  3. Even if you live with housemates, you still need to make sure you’ll be safe if you’re in the house by yourself. After all, your housemates might not always be around, or they might not remember that you’re deaf.