Firefighter uses sign language on the job – thanks to Signing Time!

When Sara Nelson Cosmi made this post on our Facebook page, she grabbed our attention!

I just wanted to share a quick story. My husband is a firefighter/EMT and went on a call last night to a house with hearing impaired patients. He was able to communicate with them, asking them “where does it hurt” and spelling out simple words all from watching Baby Signing Time with our daughter. It’s really neat to know that not only is Signing Time teaching our children but we gain from it as well. It encourages us to keep learning ASL and hopefully our children will continue to learn it as a second language. Thank You!

We contacted Sara to find out more:
  • Tell us about your family. How did you get started with signing?
    Jeff and I married about 5 and 1/2 years ago and moved from Portland, OR to a little town just North called La Center. We both actually work in Longview, WA, Jeff as a firefighter and I am a letter carrier with the USPS. When we were pregnant with our daughter we were already talking about trying to teach her some basic signs.  Neither Jeff or I knew any signs, I think I remembered part of the alphabet from when I was in elementary school but that was all we knew. We had heard that signing really helped communication and that Lily would benefit from it in so many ways. So we bought a basic sign with your baby book. After Lillian was born a couple people had told us about baby signing time, so we bought the first volume to try it out. Lily loved watching baby signing time, she quickly learned a few signs and we bought volumes 2 and 3. By a year and a half Lily was a signing machine (we aren’t biased or anything).  Me and Jeff were learning a lot too, it was really cool, we knew animals and foods and colors! Lillian is now 2 1/2 and has a baby brother, Baker, who we are turning onto the DVDs. Lily sings the songs to him and is a big help in trying to teach him.
  • So what happened when your husband went out on the call you posted about?
    A drunk driver had crashed into the side of someone’s house in the middle of the night and landed in a gentleman’s bedroom. The man, his wife and their daughter were all hearing impaired. When Jeff arrived on scene he found out that the family was deaf and asked the man, in sign language, “Where does it hurt?” The man promptly showed him and after they got him stable, Jeff asked, “Where is your I.D?” by signing ‘where’ and then spelling out I.D. The family was able to communicate really well, Jeff said that they were able to read lips fairly well and that they had paper and pens to write stuff out, too. The paramedics came and took over with the gentleman (he was the one in the bed when the car came through the wall) and Jeff tried talking with the wife a bit. She asked him to tell her husband to call on his phone when he got to the hospital and Jeff was able to do so.
  • What was your husband’s reaction to this?
    Jeff doesn’t really feel like he did anything special. He was able to make some people feel more comfortable because he was able to communicate, however small it may have been, with them at a difficult time and it was all from watching Baby Signing Time with our daughter. Jeff never thought that he would need to use signing on the job but was excited to be able to and is ready to learn more.
  • How else has signing impacted your family?
    It is really neat to us to be at a gathering or a restaurant and be able to communicate across the room. Or for us to look across the playground and tell Lily to ‘share with her friend’ or ask her to say please. Signing is an awesome way to communicate and we are anxious to learn more. Thank you for helping our family open our eyes to another world..signing!
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