In Dallas, Texas, 37 percent of the population is estimated to speak Spanish. Language barriers in emergency situations are increasingly common and a recurring problem for first responders – fire fighters, police, and paramedics. The 1st Minute App is a great asset for public safety personnel when they find themselves unable to communicate with a proficient, non-English speaker. Continue reading
If you’re a Texan native, you definitely know how wonderfully diverse both this state and the DFW area is. If you’re not from Texas originally, a popular bumper sticker says you’re probably trying to get here as fast as you can! The resulting diverse population allows the state to boast a heritage rich in multicultural affect. But it can pose a problem in moments of emergency. What happens if a foreign language speaker calls 911, help arrives, but they are unable to communicate in English with paramedics?
Being stationed in Dallas has given LanguageMAPS the chance to see just how great the need is for our mobile translation app, 1st Minute. This article by the Texas Tribune discusses the trends in bilingual 911 services and how they are already present in areas like El Paso.
But that’s not enough. If 911 call-takers are being called upon more often to understand emergencies in a language other than English, shouldn’t first responders be expected of the same? Furthermore, what about offering languages other than Spanish? Surprisingly, this need is not sufficiently met. First responders can’t keep up with all the languages that are spoken in a major metropolitan area like Dallas. The 1st Minute App changes that by allowing EMS professionals to interact with non-English speaking patients in an intuitive way.
We spoke with a EMT recently and he gave us his thoughts on the language barrier issue and even a firsthand example of how it has affected his work as an EMT. In just the one small part of the Metroplex that he works in, there are smaller areas within that can have only English-speaking citizens, or only foreign-born immigrants, or everything in between. With the diversity that Texas has to offer and with over 20% of the US population speaking a language other than English at home, this is no surprise.
The 1st Minute App aims to help first responders maintain quick decision making without being hindered by a language barrier problem. Here in the melting pot of DFW, there is no shortage of reminders that the solution of the 1st Minute App is a very real need with the national EMS community.
This news report from ABC in Dallas, TX shows how on-demand video interpreters remove language barriers in hospitals.
Hospital staff in emergency departments say that seconds count and they don’t want that precious time to be lost in translation. At this hospital, 25-30 patients a day arrive that are non-English speakers. The problem of understanding them and providing adequate care is on the rise. This large number also means that some of them were brought there via ambulance and paramedics also had to struggle with the language barrier.
First responders and medical personnel want to be the best advocates for their patients. With the technology they use now it takes a minute to get a translator via laptops or iPad. The hospital being featured has helped more than 1000 patients. The say that American Sign Language and Burmese are on the rise for the Dallas-Fort Worth region. How many languages are available through this service? 17 on video. 177 via phone.