How to Overcome Language Barriers in an Emergency
When English is not the only language spoken, planning for an emergency takes on a whole new level.
Understand the nature of the emergency event and the risks associated
- Are all employees included in discussions on risks related to the facility?
- Are support staff involved in the emergency preparedness planning stages?
- Do all employees understand their roles and responsibilities in responding to an identified risk?
Know facility emergency procedures/training
- Does facility training include emergency procedures in multiple languages?
- Are emergency procedures posted in various languages?
- Does the facility utilize posters including pictures or graphics to show what actions are to be taken during an emergency event?
- Are employees made aware during employee orientation what emergency preparedness means, and what steps they may be expected to take during specific types of events?
Understand directions or actions taken during an emergency event
- Do employees know their role and is it being communicated in their native language?
- Are they able to communicate effectively with supervisors, peers or emergency personnel?
- How might they respond to the presence of those they consider an authority (Some may perceive responding firefighters with badges as police officers and be unwilling to provide information)
- Do they know what to do if senior leadership is not available to take charge?
- How to obtain help if they are injured themselves?
Know when and how to report an incident
- What is the perception of a limited English proficient employee to the scene?
- Do they know whom to contact and what to say on the phone?
- What reasonable measures should the healthcare facilities put in place to protect the employee?
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