Gladmer Park fire in Regina

Refugees are being resettled in places like Regina which are only now comprehending the need for interpreters to support emergency services.

Fire destroys townhouse units in Regina
(Roxanna Woloshyn/CBC)

Refugees are being resettled in places like Regina which are only now comprehending the need for interpreters to support emergency services.

Last week a fire broke out in a townhouse complex in Regina.  It started in the kitchen of a townhouse unit where an Afghani woman lived with her six children.  She did not call 911 but banged on her neighbours’ door instead losing precious minutes which resulted in the fire spreading to and destroying several homes.

In the CBC interview that followed the incident, the Fire Chief remarked that interpreter services for 911 callers will not help but will only delay the response.

Such a statement smacks of ignorance and does not address the issue of accessibility of essential services for all.  Is the solution then to run to your neighbours in the middle of the night, in the dead of winter, six children in tow?  Over the Phone Interpretation is all the vogue today, because the response times are under 30 seconds and operators who respond to requests are skilled at identifying languages.  So if the woman had called the 911 despatcher who had then connected with an interpreter the communication relating to the fire would have happened in less than 5 minutes and fire crews could have been at the woman’s home in 10 minutes.  Instead a few houses burnt down before the fire crew arrived at the scene.  Public officials really need to realise that they are vested with the responsibility of serving their communities.

With changing demographics they must be inquisitive and not insular when it comes to adapting their services to meet emerging needs!

See link below for the news report

See the CBC news report by Dan Mario.

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