Firefighters pushing to use sign language

From left, Karen Ranger, Phil Nicholson and Connor Ricketts
From left, Karen Ranger, Phil Nicholson and Connor Ricketts
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HAMPSHIRE firefighters are looking to become the first emergency service in the country to adopt sign language.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue is looking to get all fire crews trained in using Makaton – a form of sign language that helps people with autism or Down Syndrome.

Firefighter Phil Nicholson says that it is a vital skill to learn and will prove helpful in emergencies.

He said: ‘This is an extremely exciting project for us and I would love to see it rolled out throughout the service.

‘Being able to communicate with everyone in the community will help us do our jobs better and quickly get important details at incidents involving people who can’t communicate through speech.

‘Firefighters enjoy the trust of the public and it is important that if somebody was lost or needed help that they know they can come to us.

‘It also about making people feel welcome and included in the town and improving their quality of life.’