Have you been confronted with an incident involving someone who could not hear or speak?
When I went through paramedic school in the 1970's, along side Roy and Johnny, the doctor that started the paramedic school had a child that was hearing and speech impaired. The doc thought that all paramedics should be able to communicate with a percentage of the population that cannot hear nor speak. Having done this job for over 30 years, I have personally experienced about a dozen calls where I had to use hand signing skills learned in paramedic school.
While I cannot remember much about the myriad of sign language shortcuts, I did retain the alphabet, and it is this that I recommend each of you take the time to do as well. You may not understand exactly what the patient is trying to communicate, but your attempt to talk to them, using simple sign language will be really appreciated. At least you are trying to make a difference. Any attempt, using simple words will get what you want to communicate, as long as you try. And believe me, the look of surprise and appreciation for helping someone understand what is going on will be one of those experiences in your career that you will never forget. I didn't...
A black and white cheat sheet for you to copy and print out for your engine's EMS response bag is included in the attachment link below.
Failure to prepare is preparing for failure... be prepared...