Watch: Deaf children teach Newcastle firefighters essential signed phrases to use in emergencies

Watch manager Steven Walker and firefighter Paul O'Neil are shown ‘simple signs’ by young people and staff from Broadwood Primary School HIARP and Jesmond Park Academy HIARP. Credit: TWFRS

A group of deaf pupils in Newcastle have produced a "lifesaving" video of essential sign language phrases to help fire crews communicate with more people in an emergency.

The children from two local schools picked 20 words and simple signs for firefighters from Newcastle Central Community Fire Station – just in case they ever attend a house fire or serious incident where any of the residents, young or old, are deaf.

The young people, aged 4-12 years-old, from Broadwood Primary School HIARP (Hearing Impairment Additionally Resourced Provision) and Jesmond Park Academy HIARP were inspired by their "people who help us" topic they studied in the classroom.

Their chosen phrases include "where is the fire?"; "how many people inside?" and "stay calm".

The children were joined by firefighter Darren Stephenson, Watch Manager Steven Walker and firefighters Jordan Carling and Paul O'Neil. Credit: TWFRS

Watch manager Steven Walker, of Newcastle Central Community Fire Station, said: “It has been a wonderful experience for our firefighters to learn the essential sign language phrases that could ultimately help to save somebody’s life in the future.

“It’s also very rewarding to have the knowledge that young people from our local community holds the fire service in such high regard to produce this empathetic project to help our frontline responding team.

“Sign language is an important means of communication and it’s priceless for our crews to have this informative insight that will benefit our day-to-day operations.”

Watch the video of simple signed phrases:

Kirsten Binns, a teacher at Broadwood Primary School HIARP, said: “We were inspired by a visit from the fire service as part of our ‘people who help us’ topic.

“During their visit the firefighters asked some questions about basic signs for communication.

“On the back of this we thought that making a practical video would be a good way for children from our primary and secondary additionally resourced provision – to all work together to produce this project.

“The children benefited by deepening their vocabulary and understanding of the work of firefighters in the local community, and by teaching them some basic signs. They also learnt some useful filming and editing skills that will be handy later in their creative school journey.”

A sign language fact sheet will be laminated and stored inside the fire appliances for use by crews attending incidents across Tyne and Wear.

The 20 chosen phrases include:

  • Where is the fire?

  • How many people inside?

  • Mum and Dad.

  • Stay calm.

  • Do not worry.

  • Grandma and Grandad.

  • Are you hurt?

  • Follow me.

  • Dog and cat.

  • Stop.

  • I will help.

  • Wait here.

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