Deaf school children produce lifesaving sign language video for firefighters

Firefighter Paul O’Neil is shown a ‘simple sign’ by Abbie, a pupil from Broadwood Primary School HIARP

A group of eleven deaf pupils from two Newcastle schools have produced a ‘lifesaving’ interactive video and fact sheet showcasing a series of essential sign language phrases.

The twenty chosen words and phrases [simple signs] have been created especially for firefighters from Newcastle Central Community Fire Station – just in case they ever attend a house fire or serious incident where any of the residents, young or old, are deaf.

The young people, aged 4-12 years-old, from Broadwood Primary School HIARP (Hearing Impairment Additionally Resourced Provision) and Jesmond Park Academy HIARP have been inspired by their “People who help us” topic they’ve been studying in the classroom.

Here is a flavour of the chosen words and phrases the young people have highlighted.

Where is the fire?

How many people inside?

Stay Calm

A group of firefighters from Red Watch at Newcastle Central Community Fire Station recently took part in a video recording workshop, where they were taught the various sign language phrases against a green screen background.

Watch Manager, Steven Walker of Newcastle Central Community Fire Station, said:

“It has been a wonderful experience for our firefighters to learn the essential sign language phrases that could ultimately help to save somebody’s life in the future.

“It’s also very rewarding to have the knowledge that young people from our local community holds the fire service in such high regard to produce this empathetic project to help our frontline responding team.

“Sign language is an important means of communication and it’s priceless for our crews to have this informative insight that will benefit our day-to-day operations.”

Watch Manager Steven Walker and Firefighter Paul O’Neil are shown ‘simple signs’ by young people and staff from Broadwood Primary School HIARP and Jesmond Park Academy HIARP.

Kirsten Binns, Teacher of the Deaf at Broadwood Primary School HIARP, said:

“We were inspired by a visit from the Fire Service as part of our ‘people who help us’ topic.

“During their visit the Firefighters asked some questions about basic signs for communication.

“On the back of this we thought that making a practical video would be a good way for children from our primary and secondary additionally resourced provision – to all work together to produce this project.

“The children benefited by deepening their vocabulary and understanding of the work of firefighters in the local community, and by teaching them some basic signs. They also learnt some useful filming and editing skills that will be handy later in their creative school journey.”

To watch the video produced by the young people from Broadwood Primary School HIARP and Jesmond Park Academy HIARP please visit

The sign language fact sheet will be laminated and stored within the fire appliances for use by the firefighters who are attending incidents across Tyne & Wear.