Earthquakes and Foreign Tourists

Yesterday, a major earthquake hit Japan.

ht-japan-earthquake-map-jc-161121_16x9_992

Airports shut down and bullet train service was interrupted. Tourists in Japan answered incessant Facebook inquiries. Although no deaths were reported, each earthquake in the island nation is stark reminder of the destructive possibility. The 2011 earthquake and deadly tsunami took 18,000 lives.

It’s tough to be prepared for a surprise natural disaster, but Japan’s authorities are leading the way.

In 2015, Japan attracted 20 million international tourists. Officials from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport say that by the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the total number of foreign visitors will increase dramatically.

Continue reading

When an App Saves a Life

7e5f777e-cc15-4fc1-8cba-a765768d4dfd-original

 

A man in Seattle is lucky to be alive.

 

Last month, Stephen DeMont was knocked over by a heart attack. His story made the news.

 

Bystanders gathered around. Someone called 9-1-1. The county dispatcher receiving the call used an app called PulsePoint to send out an alert. All those with the app in proximity to the emergency were notified. One nurse, just getting off duty at a nearby hospital, responded to the alert on her smartphone. She showed up and also began helping with CPR.

Continue reading

Why the Name “1st Minute”?

There’s a lot that goes into the name of an App.

stop watch

In our case, the nature of the problem being solved – overcoming the language barrier – requires urgency, especially in a medical emergency.

When first responders (paramedics, police, flight attendants) respond to a call, every second counts. Now imagine what happens when the patient only speaks a different language. Guessing what’s wrong, waiting for an interpreter, or just getting them to an emergency room, aren’t always the best options. These can mean the difference between life and death.

Receiving language help in the first minute is ideal. And that is where the power of mobile technology comes into play. So, we’ve designed the user experience to match that timeframe. This way responder and patient can interface with the App and communicate with each other as quickly as possible.  The fields of mobile health, 9-1-1, and emergency medicine are changing… and our App is part of the solution.

Continue reading

Language Barriers and In-flight Medical Emergencies

Have you ever experienced a medical emergency while on an airplane, or observed the call for doctors during a flight?

pexels-photo-24072

Earlier this year, Paul, a 32 year-old businessman, was on an international flight when a passenger called for assistance.

About 1 in 600 flights involves a reported passenger incident requiring medical help. That translates into 44,000 in-flight medical emergencies worldwide every year. The actual numbers may be higher since reporting is not mandatory and minor issues are very likely under-reported.

Paul was flying from a U.S. city to an overseas destination. About 30 minutes from takeoff, a man sitting across the aisle from him seemed to be in distress. Something was wrong and it looked to Paul like the man was having difficulty breathing. Flight attendants quickly arrived, made their call for medical help and frantically tried to assist.

This experience, however, was different than others. It involved a language barrier.

 

Continue reading

I said yes, I can speak Farsi

rawImage

Recently, we received this story from a 20-something exchange student from Iran studying in the United States.

He shares this language barrier experience in present-tense coming straight from an email he sent to friends immediately after this occurred.

“Tonight as I was driving back home, I saw that a car was hit by another car and there was a lady lying on the ground. Blood had covered her face and she was surrounded by two other guys. One of them was holding her head in his hands. Continue reading

First Responders Test Language Translation App

Wheaton Fire Department

In August, LanguageMAPS attended the APCO 2015 event in Washington DC.  We provided live demos of 1st Minute App in the show’s App Island and made several connections with national Fire and EMS leaders while at the event.

A particular group expressed interest in testing 1st Minute App and downloaded the Android version for use at their local fire department.  Since then, many cities have expressed interest in using 1st Minute App to be prepared for EMS interactions with their non-English speaking populations.  Continue reading