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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Tuesday, 08 July 2014 14:46

Language Barrier Complicates Emergency Response Scenarios

Emergency dispatchers and response teams are struggling with a widening language divide as they attempt to service Waterloo’s growing population of non-English speakers.

The communication barrier creates problems for all parties involved, from the dispatcher deciphering a 911 call to the officer trying to put together an accurate police report to the concerned resident trying to communicate a problem with little to no knowledge of the English language.

Over recent years, Waterloo Police have dealt with a slew of languages including Bosnian, Spanish, Serbian, Croatian, Burmese, French and Vietnamese.

In 2006, Burmese refugees began settling in Waterloo for the employment opportunities at Tyson's meat plant, and the community has been growing ever since.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Language-Barrier-Complicates-Emergency-Response-Scenarios.html