SMITH: Young EMT out to prove deafness no obstacle

For her birthday, Amber Tansey suited up and rolled to medical calls with San Francisco firefighters.

The Santa Rosa native, now 28, has completed courses at SRJC's Public Safety Training Center and she aspires to go to work as an emergency medical technician.

It would be an ambitious goal even if she were not deaf.

"People are curious about how I can do the work," said the 2003 Santa Rosa High alum. She said she communicates by every means available: hand gestures, sign language, computer messages, written notes, assistance from an interpreter, lip-reading.

Tansey said she believes that the way she perceives the world can be an asset to an emergency response team. "I see the macro; I see what's happening all around me," she said.

Right now she's seizing opportunities to ride with paramedics and EMTs, and she's sizing up whether it would be better for her to seek work in an ambulance, on a fire truck or elsewhere in emergency medicine.

"I know I can do it," she said.

A former instructor, ambulance paramedic Bryan Smith, said Tansey's determination shone through at the JC academy.

"She is driven," Smith said.

"She might have to be willing to be creative, and the company she works for might have to be willing to be creative. But I definitely believe she can do it."

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