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Pa. county first responders attend American Sign Language class

More than 30 first responders participated in a course to learn the basics of communicating with deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals


First responders with the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Department were among the dozens who participated in an American Sign Language class in Allegheny County this week.

Photo/Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Department Facebook

Nate Smallwood
The Tribune-Review

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — On Wednesday, more than 30 first responders packed into a classroom at the Allegheny County Fire Academy to take their first steps in learning how to better communicate with deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals they may need to serve in emergency situations.

Nick Catalano, a math teacher at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, led the class with the basics of American Sign Language. First with the alphabet, then numerals 1-10. The class proceeded to learn various other terms that might be useful in emergency situations.

Teaching the sign for “deaf,” Catalano stressed that using this sign in an emergency situation, “even if you don’t know any other sign — establishing communication — it’s a huge impact.”

The class, is one of a two-part class, is put on by Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and hosted at the Allegheny County Fire Academy in Allison Park.

Participants in the class came from over 14 departments and were instructed on signs and techniques for communicating emergency information to users of American Sign Language.


©2020 The Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

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