Vicdeaf, Victoria’s main provider of specialised services in Victoria, spoke to a group of twelve Fire Safety Officers (Bushfire) at a forum held at Fiskville.
The Home Bushfire Advice Service offer personalised bushfire advice at home, meaning our FSOs are in a great position to work face-to-face with people from all walks of life – including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Following the session the team commented on just how much of an eye-opener the presentation had been, shedding light on the communication barriers that deaf people face.
Sherene Mounier commented, “I came into the day with an impression that all deaf people are able to lip read, and learnt that this is an assumption we simply can’t make. I was also surprised to learn that sentence structure is different when it is signed, which explains why there is often a slight delay when working with an interpreter.
She continues, “On a personal level I have changed my thinking that deafness is a disability and that the deaf community view themselves as a linguistic minority - not disabled.
“Now I’m thinking about what I can do differently to ensure that our messages are received and where to go for assistance with presentation and materials.”
Project Manager Andrew Thomas said that the entertaining, engaging and interactive, presentation was a credit to Vicdeaf.
“The opportunity to gain an insight into working with a Deaf presenter and an Auslan (Australian Sign Language) interpreter was highly appreciated by our team - especially given the potentially life saving nature of the advice they give to communities on a daily basis,” he said.
If you would like to learn more, or are interested in booking an awareness session for your team, follow this link to Vicdeaf's website.