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Emergency Management Plans Should Incorporate Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Citizens

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on September 11, 2018

The imminent landfall of Hurricane Florence tells us that we are in the midst of a time of year that has become known as “hurricane season.” Sadly, it is also a period when we are reminded that the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are sometimes minimized and even forgotten during an emergency.

Approximately 35 million Americans are hearing impaired. It has been well documented that training designed to help communicate with this community during a disaster is rare, and frequently lacks standardization or integration into a formal emergency management plan.

All too often, crucial information is delivered infrequently, late, and is often missing critical facts – if it is delivered at all. These dangerous communication gaps leave the Deaf and Hard of Hearing with an incomplete understanding of what is happening, when it will happen, and what steps they are expected to take.

What can your community do to better communicate with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing when faced with an emergency?

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Language Assistance Must be a Priority During Emergency Response

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on September 10, 2018

Language access should be a key component of every disaster plan, as roughly one in eight United States residents is limited-English proficient (LEP). Unfortunately, caring for the needs of LEP populations in the face of an emergency is not always the priority it should be. If LEP individuals are not able to access disaster information in a language they can understand, the consequences can be deadly.

A disaster plan typically incorporates three phases: preparedness, response, and recovery.

Emergency response is foremost on our minds as Hurricane Florence steers toward land. Today we will focus on effectively managing the communication of information about sheltering, evacuation, transportation, and health care before and during an emergency to LEP individuals.

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How Does an Interpreter Cope with Difficult Calls? (Video)

Posted by Patti Geye on April 27, 2017

Can you imagine not being able to share very personal thoughts with a loved one, not because you don’t want to, but because you speak different languages? Misunderstanding, frustration, and even sadness can cause problems when you can’t communicate. Professional interpreters are relied on every day to help with difficult experiences like these. They must accurately convey even the most intimate thoughts while remaining impartial.

Interpreters remain objective, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t affected by the situations they interpret.

Meet Christina, a Korean interpreter who tearfully shares the time she helped a patient deliver sad news to her husband. She had to place herself in the middle of a very emotional discussion and remain composed. It left a lasting impression on her.

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'I Am There' - An Interpreter's Story (Video)

Posted by Amy Wade on March 28, 2017

Language interpretation is a difficult profession. Taking call after call without knowing what situation is coming up next requires total concentration and a passion for the profession. At LanguageLine Solutions, we understand that each interpreting session and every person on that call is vitally important. 

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What to Do if a 911 Caller Doesn't Speak English - Part Two

Posted by Greg Holt on April 23, 2015

In our previous post, we started out with an all too familiar situation 911 call takers in the United States face on a regular basis: trying to help limited English proficient (LEP) individuals in a crisis situation.

When we left our intrepid call taker, she was momentarily dreading the conversation to come because she knows that clear communication is the one thing offering hope to the caller at the other end of the line and the call can even be a matter of life and death. Yet, clear communication is exactly what’s being disrupted because of language and cultural issues that complicate calls.

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What To Do if a 911 Caller Doesn't Speak English - Part One

Posted by Greg Holt on April 21, 2015

911 interpretation. Language access for emergency callers. LanguageLine. The call chirps into her headset. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, then presses the call button, opens her eyes and focuses on the screen in front of her.

Call taker: “9-1-1. What is your emergency?”

Caller: “¡Por favor, ayúdeme! ¡Mi hija no está respirando!...

Her eyes close again for a moment as she realizes this situation just became a lot more dangerous.

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