The Signing Families Mini-Emergency Communication Chart – For When Time Counts! (ASL- English – Spanish – Chinese)



This pocket-sized emergency communication chart has FOUR different languages represented. Photos for a dozen important informational signs are in sign language, English, Spanish and Chinese! There is a space for writing with a washable marker allows for efficient communication during challenging situations, such as medical emergencies or disasters. Also, numbers, common symbols (such as for email) and the alphabet is included. This card has a special coating for easy cleaning. This emergency mini – chart has been used by thousands of First Responders and Community Emergency Responder Teams (CERT). Also, valuable for those who work in schools, are involved with service related industries (such as bus drivers, flight attendants, etc.). Restauranteurs and hospitality workers are also using this chart to help customers who are in need of assistance. We offer this chart for those who reside in the United States. Price includes shipping within the USA. Don't want to order via PayPal or don't see a button to order? EMAIL US at the LINK BELOW! Bulk orders needed? EMAIL US! Shipping included, but note: we only ship within the United States. For outside the USA orders – please send an email. Thank you.







mini chart chinese 2


To learn more about emergency sign language please go to





What are you doing October 16th at 10:16 a.m.?

dropcoverholdon_re On October 16th at 10:16 in the morning, I will be joining the  9.2 million Californians and 19 million worldwide (and counting) individuals who are planning on stopping EVERYTHING to participate in the SHAKE OUT earthquake and tsunami drill!

RegistrationShakeOut_Global_JoinUs_300x250  is EASY and the whole drill only takes a few minutes.

WOW – five minutes to practice how to be safe when a disaster strikes!

And, for you non-west coast folks – don’t think that earthquakes are just “our thing”.  If memory recalls correctly – one of the most recent earthquakes of a magnitude greater than 5.0 in the United States happened in Virginia!

Here is the PSA I made in sign language with open captions to help keep everyone safe, including those in our Deaf and HOH communities!


graphics from

Dear First Responders, THANK YOU!

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These events and so many more this week are why I feel we all need to take a minute to thank the FIRST RESPONDERS in our community.  From Police to Fire Fighters to Emergency Medical Personnel including EMTs at disaster scenes, to the  Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) to Comfort Dog Associations  to the American Red Cross and to so many others.

Peri is helping to say in American Sign Language THANK YOU!
Peri is helping to say in American Sign Language THANK YOU!


An Open Letter… Written by guest blogger and New Jersey resident, Jen Martelle Heicklen

I am posting today an “Open Letter” written by Jen Martelle Heicklen.  She is the wife of a New Jersey First Responder who has been working tirelessly to save lives of people that are in need of rescue following Hurricane Sandy.   Her letter addresses a serious issue – First Responders risking their lives to save those who refused to follow evacuation orders.  I find that this letter is poignant, raw and one that I wish to take the liberty to reprint (with permission from Jen).  I believe others may agree or disagree with Jen’s point of view, but , as a person who works with and deeply respects First Responders, I felt compelled to reprint it.  Respectful comments welcome.

Disclaimer: I did not edit the content or the “strong language” written. I respect her right to voice her opinion and write as she wishes.  If curse words offend you, stop reading now.

An open letter to those that decided to “ride out Sandy” on the Barrier Islands

by Jen Martelle Heicklen

Dear Jackasses,

While you were sitting deciding to stay in harms way and “ride out the storm of the century,” my husband was packing his gear preparing to go save your sorry asses. As you were playing drinking games while watching The Weather Channel, taking a drink each time you heard, “hunkering down,” my husband

 was kissing his kids goodbye for what could be the last time. Why? So he could go save your sorry asses. Now as you realize that perhaps you should have heeded the ORDER to evacuate, and are calling out to be rescued, my husband is risking his life along with other First Responders, for what?? To go save your sorry asses. As you sit nervously, in fear for your life, waiting for rescue, my kids are sitting at home, riding out the hurricane without their daddy. They are little, scared and don’t understand why daddy has to help the people who would NOT follow orders instead of staying home and protecting them. Again, I say, “why?” To save your sorry asses…As a wife of a First Responder of the NJ Task Force, I am extremely proud of the VOLUNTEER work that my husband does. He has a natural leadership about him and uses this skill to save those in need of rescue unselfishly. Let me be implicitly clear; I have no problem with my husband saving lives of those who legitimately need rescue. Those who COULD not evacuate–not those of you who CHOSE not too.As I sit and watch the news and interviews I become increasingly incensed by the interviews of those of you who decided to ride out the storm. Your casual replies that perhaps you shouldn’t have attempted to ride out the storm, or worse, that it was “crazy” or “unbelievable.” If you are interviewed you should be GRATEFUL that my husband decided to risk his life without a second thought so that you could live yours. You should be THANKFUL to all the First Responders who are risking their lives because YOU made a stupid, stupid choice. To the media: I abhor how you interview these punks who ride out the storm and glorify their decision. Why not ignore their stupid decisions or better yet, call them on it. Ask them what the hell they were thinking and who do they think they are to risk someone else’s life so they could experience a hurricane?? Interview the heroes…the ones who are out there unselfishly helping others. Notice, you won’t see this–not because the media won’t attempt to interview them–but rather the true heroes don’t need the glory that the Jackasses that rode out the storm so desperately need.Right now, while you Jackasses are safe, warm and with family members, my husband, along with many other First Responders are out risking their lives so they can save your brethren. So, Jackasses, kiss your family today and tell them that you love them. Simply because you can. Let’s hope that my kids and I can do the same with my husband.

Originally from the FACEBOOK page of Jen Martelle Heicklen

October 31, 2012

Photo by CNN

Autistic Children and Water Safety

photo by Louise Sattler

H20- Water.  A very common element in our world. Often to be admired from a sandy shore, used to quench a thirst or to bathe. However, for children with Autism- water represents a much different element. It is soothing. Calming. Therapeutic. Quiet. And, sometimes dangerous.

Children on the spectrum have for years been offered water therapy to help with sensory integration, enhance communication skills and improve socialization.  There is no doubt that water therapy is often essential with helping children with Autism and I have seen for myself the outstanding benefits.  Yet , because water is often familiar and a preferred environment for these children, it also can pose some significant concerns.

Note that it has been reported that over 90% of children with Autism wander which is why if a child is missing in your neighborhood or school- check local pools and other waterways- quickly!  Annually, children with Autism who have fled a scene due to curiosity or fear are sadly found on the bottom of pools. For some states, such as Florida, promotions for  water safety courses for children with special needs have been implemented. What a wonderful idea! BRAVO!

First Responders who attend my presentations often are surprised to learn how a child with Autism may flee. Many are unaware that during an emergency situation or even something as commonplace as a child pulling a fire alarm by accident,  that they need to be extra mindful  of keeping tabs on children with special needs.   Often EMS learn for the first time about the threat water  poses to children who  have heightened sensory awareness.  They often are unaware that Autistic children may use water/pools as a way to seek calm and quiet from the chaos that ensues during school evacuations or other emergencies.

I have found a several interesting references and articles.  Here are just a few:






To learn more about Louise’s presentations please connect via her website:  SIGNING FAMILIES


Helping to Save the Lives of Children with Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month and I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce all of you to a new joint venture between Debi Taylor, Spirit of Autism, and myself.  Together we are trying to help educate and potentially save the lives of children with Autism.  For a number of years I have trained emergency medical personnel on how to interact and communicate with children with special needs, many who use sign language. Debi, is a paramedic and the mother of a son with Autism.  We are “Tweet pals” and have become fast friends and colleagues.  Our mission is to help EMS and others be able to assist children and adults with Autism during medical emergencies or disasters.

If you are interested in learning more about our programs please connect here via SIGNING FAMILIES:  INFO<at>SigningFamilies<dot>com

To be able to receive our two  emergency cards below for the sweet price of $1.99 (US customers only receive free shipping), again send us an email:  INFO<at>SigningFamilies<dot>com

For bulk rates for Schools/ PTOs, Hospitals and EMS organizations please also connect at the email above or via

Thank you!

2011 – Learn, Create, Support, Educate and Breathe

This has been quite a year! So, as usual I will defer to photos instead of words to capture the year – end synopsis. From many traveling opportunities such as to Mac World with The PaperShow, EMS trainings, Parent- Child workshops, to creating educational videos for, products for SIGNING FAMILIES (hence all the kids in photos), and including tons of time working in media and social media and with, expanding my professional horizons with the  co- creation of 411 VOICES and my joining The Linicomn Agency – LA Division for Exceptional Talent, to time time with family and friends and battling the beast (cancer) only to turn those lemons in to a Twitter-esque lemonade, and much more!… WHEW..

Oh The Places You Will Go…..

This year has been one of grand high points and some that were a bit… not high.  Despite some of the events of the year that I would like to put way behind me, such as kicking cancer out the back door, I was so fortunate to put on a bunch of air miles for work (which really is loads of fun!) I was invited to be a guest speaker at several conferences, workshops and expos this year.  I had a wonderful time at MACWORLD 2011, EMS conferences in many states and much more.   I truly enjoyed meeting and greeting thousands at conferences where I was asked to speak about helping children with special needs during disasters or medical emergencies. It was an unbelievable privilege for me to work in tandem with many in the EMS community this year. I wish I could name each person individually who took time out of their day to learn sign language in order to effectively communicate with a child or adult who is deaf or uses sign.   I snapped a zillion photos this year.   These are from visits to California, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Wyoming and Colorado.  And, a few are from my own “backyard” here in the metro DC area.  Enjoy and Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011 has been designated as the National Emergency Alert Test Day.  This will be only a TEST.  Information that is IMPORTANT for our deaf friends can be found here   (The video includes American Sign Language– ASL)

Below you will find the SIGNING FAMILIES Sign Expressions Emergency Card that was created for EMS, Firefighters, Law Enforcement , to name a few, to help facilitate communication with ASL users and Spanish speakers.  Send an email to to learn how you or your organization can receive one or more cards for less than 75 cents each (this weeks special).