Category: NASEMSO

NATIONAL EMERGENCY ALERT TEST 2 PM EST… ASL ACCESS

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 INFO@SigningFamilies.com to learn how you or your organization can receive one or more cards for less than 75 cents each (this weeks special).

Post 9/11 – Lessons Learned by First Responders and Myself in Helping Special Populations

It is almost the anniversary of one of the saddest days in American history. A day when time seemed to have stood still. When the morning started as a day so crisp and clear it was almost too good to be true, yet ended full of darkness. And, the day which I asked myself over and over again…How are First Responders helping people who can’t hear, speak English, or are non-verbal -such as in the case of Autism?

Much has been written about 9/11 except for stories of what happened to those who couldn’t easily communicate with First Responders.  A few films were made. Some tangential interviews. Yet, not much was made public about how First Responders communicated ten years ago and how they would, if need be, interact, react and communicate today.  A recent publication  by  SAVEtheCHILDREN.org indicated that many states continue to be without viable plans in place to help special populations, especially children during disasters. I was astonished as from my own personal experience I would have suspected the opposite findings!

Since 2001, I have had the privilege of talking to thousands of First Responder.  Most who were intrigued and accepting of the idea that learning sign language (the fourth most common language in the United States) should be a priority for all EMS, Firefighters and Law Enforcement staff.  Thousands have  now sat in my SIGN LANGUAGE FOR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS workshops to hear about techniques to use during a disaster or medical incident to help a child with Autism, Down Syndrome, or Deafness. The participants have taught me as much as I have shared with them.  So while I believe that there is room for improvement, I am certain that progress has been made throughout many regions in the United States including making September Disaster Preparedness Month.

Perhaps many, including myself, have learned these lessons…

1. Communication is key during a disaster or medical emergency.  The first ten minutes are crucial. No one is asking to replace an interpreter or translator, but during exceptional circumstances, such as those of 9/11 or recent hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes – safety and help is tantamount.  

2.  To facilitate communication and help a child who has learning and/or  developmental challenges, use people in their surrounding area who many be of assistance to help with interaction between the non-verbal / English speaker and yourself.

3. Gestures can come in handy, although be careful, some gestures may be considered obscene by some cultures.

4. Helping children is not the same as helping adults. They will react differently. Children with Autism may drop and rock, scream, lash out (in fear) and/or flee. The latter is the most dangerous as some new information shows that children who flee often will go to water, thus a child may seek out a pool or pond during a disaster.

5. The first ten minutes of any disaster or medical incident is key. Knowing ten  signs (ASL), words in Spanish/ Chinese/ French/ Vietnamese (among others)  can save help to evacuate people to safety, find a child, or save a life.

In order to make safety an inclusive priority I have added some resource links below.  My biggest wish – we never need to use them as that would mean another disaster or medical crisis has occurred.

RESOURCES

FIRST RESPONDERS TV – Deaf and Special Populations Video

EMS Educast-  Helping deaf populations

Inclusion – Help for Disaster Preparedness

Autism Society

FEMA

DEAF Inc. Disaster Videos

Spirit of Autism by Debi Taylor.  Paramedic, mother of a child with Autism

SLINKY- yes, you read it right.  One SLINKY can help to transition a child who is fearful or non-verbal from place to place. Children with significant Autism may become engrossed in the shiny and round aspects of this non-personal object and be more willing to go with a First Responder/

Sign Language for Emergencies Mini-Chart

EMS 101- 36 hours of LEARNING!

I returned late last night from the annual conference of Emergency Management Services (NASEMSO).  I met dozens of directors and coordinators  of EMS/Trauma programs from most of the 50 states and territories .  I can honestly say that it took a side trip on my way home to Crackle Barrel for me to decompress from all that I learned.  Here is the condensed version-

  • There is no way you can meet and discuss the real life concerns and endeavors of EMS and not leave in AWE of the dedication of these amazing professionals.
  • The technology available for EMS and Trauma is in many cases being created faster than state budgets can afford to purchase it and implement it in facilities.  However, there is so much advanced technology available to save lives today during a disaster that it will spin your head! I couldn’t help but feel that was I was at Disney’s EPCOT when looking at some of the most intricate technology to be used on site of a disaster. Simply outstanding.
  • EMS/ Trauma  directors and coordinators have a sense of humor.  This was very refreshing to know that they could laugh – a lot- despite having high pressure jobs.  BRAVO to all of them.
  • EMS/ Trauma professionals LOVE PlayDoh and Silly Bandz. Yes, you read that correctly.  You want to discuss the needs of deaf and communication challenged children- just put a bowl full of Silly Banz with rescue designs in front of grown-ups and let the conversation flow! For the record, the most sought after “band” was the fire hydrant! Yellow and pink were the preferred PlayDoh colors- not that I was counting or anything.

In closing, I want to publicly thank all the EMS/ Trauma professionals who took time out of their busy conference schedule to spend a few minutes with me to learnabout Signing Families™ and how I could perhaps help with communication needs in their regions.   I truly am grateful.

Louise Sattler is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, Owner of Signing Families™ , frequent blogger to many educational websites and the host of the soon to launch radio program on the HerInsight Media Network– The Louise Sattler Show-  Where Learning Meets Laughter!


EMS 101

Next week I will be going to a very important conference- NASEMSO– the National Association of State EMS Officials annual meeting.  This will be unlike any gathering of the minds that I have ever attended. And I am really excited as I have worked hard and waited a long time for this opportunity.

Nevermind that this will be an opportunity for me to discuss the advantages of sign language for all emergency responders and healthcare providers with people who are the “shakers and movers” in the the EMS milieu.  Nevermind that I will be able to educate people about how to approach a deaf child or one who has special learning challenges, such as Autism, during a critical incident.  Nevermind that I will be proudly showing my SIGN LANGUAGE FOR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS series of products and information.

My reasons for excitement are purely selfish.  Next week I get to be both the teacher and the student. I can be a participant in sessions that will help me to learn more about the the fabric of emergency management.  What training does a First Responder need?  How do cities determine how many ambulances are needed? Do EMS organizations have special considerations for bilingual/bicultural families? What are the latest and greatest technologies in ER care for trauma doctors?

And if I can help others next week, too- well then that would be icing on the proverbial cake!

Thanks for reading!  If you would like to read more about Sign Language for Emergency Situations and the reasons why I created this series please see this blog entry  ” WHY I CREATED SIGN LANGUAGE FOR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS”

Louise Sattler is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, Owner of Signing Families™ , frequent blogger to many educational websites and the host of the soon to launch radio program on the HerInsight Media NetworkThe Louise Sattler Show-  Where Learning Meets Laughter!

Hopefully by this time next week she will have learned a lot of information about the EMS.  Feel free to learn more about Signing Families” EMS trainings by sending an email to Info@Signingfamilies.com

 

There are many great resources to learn more about EMS

I highly recommend the CHRONICLES OF EMS

and Spirit of Autism

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