One Broken Bow mom will sleep with more peace of mind from now on, thanks to a generous donation from the Broken Bow Volunteer Fire Department and the Custer County Chapter of the Salvation Army.
The two entities pooled their resources to split the cost of purchasing a very special piece of life-saving equipment, for a very special little boy.
Ten-year-old Aniah Preston is completely deaf in his left ear, and has very little hearing ability in his right. He wears a cochlear implant in his left ear, but not at night.
Aniah’s mom, Amy Kulhanek, has always worried about what would happen with Aniah in the case of a house fire. He would not be able to hear the fire alarm. That’s where the fire department and Salvation Army came in.
A device was purchased that will wake Aniah up if the smoke alarm goes off. It is called, in layman's terms, a “bed shaker.” A small disc is placed under Aniah’s mattress at night. The disc is wired to the alarm system. If the alarm goes off, the disc vibrates the bed, strongly enough to wake even a sleeping 10-year-old.
The unit also features a flashing strobe light, which Aniah will see going off once he is awakened by the disc. The monitor on the device will display the word “FIRE” in large letters as well.
As Andy Holland, with the Broken Bow Fire Department, explained to Amy and Aniah how the device works, Amy took time to explain to Aniah what he should do if he is awakened during a fire. She told him how to get out of the house, where to go, and what to tell his neighbor when he gets there.
“As he gets older and more responsible, I would eventually like to be able to let him stay home by himself once in a while,” Amy explained. “Now I will be able to feel more comfortable about doing that when the time comes.”