Translation Device May Help Save Lives


The Grand Island Fire Department recently invested in a new translation device.

Last week the fire department put it into service. Enabling Language Services Anywhere is a small mobile device that is now used on the front-line ambulances at stations No. 1 and No. 2.

GIFD became the first in the state to use the technology that helps by eliminating language barriers.

Jared Stockwell, a firefighter and paramedic with GIFD said emergency responders have used the device once so far and they're pleased with it.

Stockwell said the language barrier is frustrating for both patients and paramedics. He said, "All the stations have experienced a problem on a daily basis with being able to communicate well because of different languages."

Around 30 different languages are spoken in Grand Island, meaning there is a good chance a patient might not speak English. However, emergency responders will be able to help break that barrier with the nearly 180 languages supported by the device.

GIFD has invested a one-time $40 activation fee for the use of each ELSA device. In addition, each device has a $240 annual subscription fee and a $1.50 a minute charge for interpretation services.

Russ Blackburn, Emergency Medical Services Division Chief said about the device, "Translators are medically certified, they've worked in healthcare, they understand the terms, and they're certified to translate completely and they're also patient privacy compliant."