HHS Releases First Responder Plain Language Checklist
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has unveiled a plain language checklist to help first responders provide services to individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals with disabilities during emergency response and recovery efforts.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, at least 350 languages are spoken across the country. In addition, approximately 15 percent of adults report some trouble hearing, 8.1 million people are visually impaired, and 32 million adults are illiterate. Federal civil rights laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandate that federally funded emergency response and recovery services must be accessible to people with limited English proficiency and people with disabilities.
This new checklist includes recommendations, specific action steps, and resources to assist first responders in providing on-the-ground language assistance and communicating effectively in disasters. Practical tips range from how to identify language needs in a disaster-impacted community to effectively utilizing interpreters.
Follow the link below to access this new checklist for first responders. Also included with today’s StayAlert! Notice are example policies related to the use of language interpreters.
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