DEAF and hard-of-hearing residents in Bolton and Wigan are
benefiting from tailored fire safety advice thanks to Greater
Manchester Fire and Rescue Service's (GMFRS) community safety
Community Safety Advisors (CSAs) have learned sign
language so they can improve their communication when carrying out
Home Safety Checks (HSCs) and visiting residents in the
They've recently been awarded their certificates after
completing an eight-week British Sign Language Level One course -
arranged through Bolton's Deaf Interagency Forum - at Bolton Sixth
Form College to coincide with Deaf Awareness Week earlier this
The Bolton and Wigan
Community Safety Team sign the word
Community Safety Team Leader Patricia Shacklock said: "The
course was a couple of hours a week over eight weeks and it was a
really good course.
"The instructors tailored the course to our needs so we
could learn words and phrases needed for carrying out Home Safety
Checks - such as danger, smoke and escape route - and a lot of it
is visual so it's easier to learn.
"In Wigan we get quite a lot of deaf HSC referrals which
we are told is a result of the town's heavy industry so sign
language is a really important skill for the CSAs who visit
Community Safety Manager Reg Dempster said: "It all
started last year when I started going to the Deaf Interagency
Forum in Bolton and there were a number of questions about how we
carry out Home Safety Checks.
"We were discussing how we could carry out HSCs for people
with hearing difficulties and we wanted to do something more than
just give them a leaflet.
"So the deaf forum and the
college came up with the idea of offering a British Sign Language
Level One accredited course for GMFRS - and what's even nicer about
the course is that it's being delivered by Bolton people for the
benefit of Bolton residents."