24 ASL signs all first responders should know

Check out these video clips for the most important words to know when working with someone who is deaf or hearing-impaired

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 15 percent of U.S. adults report some trouble hearing. As first responders who work and communicate with the public every day, it’s likely you will come across someone who is deaf or hard of hearing during your career.

Below are 24 words and phrases that will help you communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired and will allow you to provide care more easily until an interpreter can be acquired.

1. Yes


2. No


3. Stop


4. Pain


5. EMT or paramedic


6. Firefighter


7. I don’t understand

8. Calm down


9. Are you hurt?



11. Do you need help?


12. What is wrong?


13. Are you safe?


14. Follow me


15. Ambulance


16. Fire


17. Emergency


18. Evacuate


19. Hospital


20. Oxygen


21. Breathe


22. Heart


23. Bleeding

24. Accident

For additional resources, watch this collaborative video created by Spokane, Washington, emergency services and law enforcement on best practices for first responders when working with members of the community who may be deaf or hard of hearing.


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