Calgary 911 dispatchers handling multilingual calls with new service

The Calgary Police Service says its new language service to help with 911 calls is working well.

Emergency communications officers help dispatchers turn call to over to intepreters

Emergency communications officer Ayuz Mukadam says people calling 911 are relieved when they hear someone who speaks their language. (CBC)

The Calgary Police Service says its new language service to help with 911 calls is working well.

When someone who doesn't speak English makes an emergency call, the 911 operators can use their bilingual employees, called emergency communications officers, or turn it over to an interpretation service. That capability is making a big difference for callers.

"From sometimes panic to, you can hear it goes to relief that 'Oh, I know someone's going to get this,'" said Ayuz Mukadam, an emergency communications officer. "They're always going to get the help they need. Now it's like they know."

The Calgary 911 centre receives about 200 non-English calls each month.

With the emergency communications officers and interpreters, the centre can help people calling in about 200 different languages.

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