Irmo, SC (Paul Kirby) – The Texas Roadhouse on Columbiana Drive recently took the time to recognize David Bitters as the Irmo Fire District’s Hero of the Month for January of 2019. Bitters, who is legally deaf, has made it his personal mission to teach emergency responders and law enforcement officers how to recognize someone who is hard of hearing or deaf when they are interacting with them during an emergency.
Bitters realized years ago that firefighters, EMTs, and law enforcement officer were not adequately trained to recognize the symptoms of deafness when interacting with someone during an emergency. Being hard of hearing doesn’t allow a deaf person to communicate with those responders as would someone who can hear well. This can mean the difference between life and death, especially when trying to understand the commands of a law enforcement officer during a high stress situation. Bitters has even made special cards available to the hard of hearing, deaf, and first responders that allow the hearing-impaired person to point to a picture of what’s wrong in an emergency. It also lets a law enforcement officer point to pictures to indicate why a deaf person may have been pulled over. Bitters has worked across the state to bring this training to departments at no cost to them.
For his hard work and dedication, Bitters was awarded a gift basket and a heartfelt thanks from the Texas Roadhouse Armadillo at the Irmo Fire District’s headquarters.