Virginia fire department teams with a research university to help overcome language barriers

  • Source: VCU News
  • Published: 06/13/2022 12:00 AM

Responding to a fire or medical emergency often results in tense moments for firefighters as well as anyone who has called 911 for help if there is a language barrier. The situation can become overwhelming and scary for anyone who doesn’t understand what is going on and can’t provide information. That’s the type of scenario that Richmond Fire Department Battalion Chief Bailey Martin hopes to rectify by getting help from the Virginia Commonwealth University Community Action Council and council member Anita Nadal, an assistant professor in the VCU School of World Studies and faculty fellow for community engagement in the College of Humanities and Sciences. “EMS is a big part of our workload. We field 35,000 calls a year, the majority of which are medical emergencies. It’s very difficult if the people don’t speak English,” Martin said.


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