Deaf, hard-of-hearing students learn from Seminole County firefighters

Crew at Station 11 gave hands-on learning to students

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The fire crew at Seminole County Station 11 welcomed on Friday deaf and hard-of-hearing students from Altamonte Elementary School.

The group got a chance to watch, learn and even ask questions about what the job is all about.

“They don’t have a ton of opportunities to get out into the community, so we really wanted to set this up for them we have career days where they talk about what they want to be when they grow up and they mentioned being firefighters, so we wanted to give them that exposure,” Brianna Balch with Altamonte Elementary said.

With the help of interpreters, students were able to understand what to do in case there’s a fire or any other emergency.

News 6 learned some of the students use cochlear implants or hearing aids to communicate in class.

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“Hands-on learning and having that real face-to-face interaction with humans and learning different environments is kind of the best way you’re going to learn and remember that,” Balch explained.

Firefighter and Army reservist, Victor Gaytan, said he took sign language for three years at Hagerty High School and he was able to use those skills to introduce himself in front of the group.

“Being able to communicate with them and interact with them was awesome because again for me I never thought I’d get to do it,” Gaytan said.

Gaytan said he’s glad to see students receive a hands-on lesson about what firefighters do.

Altamonte Springs police also showed the group the department’s cruisers and motorcycles on site.

“When we come into a fire or any kind of scene, we look intimidating, scary, we have all this equipment on us, and we have to carry tools so for young kids a lot of their first reaction when they see us is to run and hide,” Gaytan said.

Seminole County Fire said smoke alarms for the deaf or hard of hearing are available for free for residents.

For more information on how to get one you can email:

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About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!