Sunday, November 14, 2010


I remember one time I went with my family to Seattle to go to DeafNation. Haddy was going to preform his poetry and we were going to see friends from Los Angeles.

We dropped the kids at Grandma's house and ran for the hotel! Adult time..... nice. We met up with our friends and separated into groups that would stay at the hotel, go to dinner or go find a bar. My hubby ended up with the bar group.

I was socializing with some girls at the hotel around 12:30 am. Yep, I had a few cocktails I was socializing. Life was good. ....

Above my head in a friends room the fire alarm starts blaring. I tell my friends and jump up on the bed to cut if off so I can call the front desk. The woman I talk to tells us to file out to the hall and come downstairs, use the stairs. I tell my friends and out we go. In the hall was a tired group of hearing people making their way to the stairs.

Down in the lobby folks were directed to go outside. Stand in front of the hotel they tell me. I tell my friends. The odd thing is I don't "interpret " for my friends. If I am going to lunch with a deaf friend I don't order for them or help them get a refill on their soda. That night the hotel was a "danger zone" and I just stepped into that role. Who am I to do that?

We were outside cold and deflated because we had been having fun and now we were concerned. We mentioned there were other deaf folks in the hotel. Maybe a lot. So we went to the front desk to ask. How about the other deaf people? Do they need to come outside? We don't have enough staff they tell me.  Is this a real fire I ask? We don't know they tell me. So what about the other guests? Nothing we can do they tell me. Serious I ask? Yes sorry they tell me. So if the hotel is on fire you will just let them die?

The woman at the desk decides it is a good idea to give me and a friend keys to all of the deaf people's rooms. Wake them up she tells us. Get them downstairs. Huh? I am not comfortable really going into their rooms. I don't work here. My deaf  friend tells me to just do it. Run she says. So we do.. I remember running down the halls. It was a deaf event that weekend so there were many rooms. I opened doors and woke up folks deep in sleep. We managed to wake up everyone.

Then outside there was a large group, deaf and hearing. Hands were flying trying to figure out what was happening. One man came out fully packed for the airport thinking my nighttime disturbance was his wake up call for his flight.

My husband walks up with the bar group. What is going on he asked? I don't know I tell him. So we wait. The fire department arrives. They find the "fire". An ice machine malfunctioned.  We will all be safe. Go back to your rooms they tell us.

So what if the hotel was really on fire. I was told there was one accommodation kit. One box full of the emergency stuff we seem to never need.


  1. In the pre-ADA days there was a large motel fire in Rochester, NY. There were some deaths, and it was mentioned that several guests were deaf. The newspaper raised the question "what if a convention of deaf people was held there?" and asked how they would be alerted.

    It is ironic that hotels get around the ADA: to have just one alert kit available and if nobody asks for it, the liability is not theirs.

    Many hotel guests put on the chain lock as one can never be sure that the lock is totally secure. The best accomodation would be having an alarm strobe in every room.

  2. Unless the sprinklers activate,there is not much to do unless they install a strobe light. This is a concern for ci users as well as they sleep without sounds.

  3. Funny the halls had strobe lights. How is a person suppose to see that asleep in their room?

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