Early Monday morning the Chicago DAT team responded to a unique two-alarm fire on the southside of Chicago.
The fire spread to five different buildings on the block, leaving three destroyed and two others in questionable condition. As our responders arrived on scene they were confronted by more than the usual difficulties of a large scale incident, the household members were Spanish speaking.
Here is a link to the article published in the Chicago Tribune about the incident:
Chicago is one of the more diverse cities in the United States, so language problems are not an unusual occurence when responding. Thankfully, we have found a few different ways to make the language barrier a non-issue when trying to help those in need. We have quite a few volunteers/DAT responders who can faciliate our services in multiple languages, and even more that have a working knowledge of a different tongue. Also, we have found that there are quite a few bi-lingual police officers working for the Chicago PD that are more than happy to lend a hand when on scene. Communities members, such as neighbors, have also been able to assist as translators.
BUT we could always use more!
Although Spanish is the most prevelant second language, it is not the only other one spoken in Chicago. We encounter many different languages while responding to incidents.
If you are reading this and know a second language help us avoid being lost in translation, come help!
During this specific incident we were able to send one of our volunteers who is fluent in Spanish to the scene, drastically improving our ability to help. When it was all finished we were able to service 29 people!
Be safe everyone,
Lily and Sam