A device that can interpret language between emergency on-scene responders and the people they transport is being touted as the latest technological advancement in rescue operations.
Rural Metro Ambulance, a company that provides ambulance service in Shelby County, including the unincorporated areas, is believed to be the first group in the country to use such a device.
"Our on-scene responders, or emergency rescuers, are sometimes faced with the inability to communicate with the people they are called to transport to area hospitals and other facilities," said Nikki Gast, Rural Metro Ambulance market general manager.
"If there is a communication problem, this device will help save valuable time and lives."
When using the device, a simple press of a button dials an interpreter, who can directly communicate with the patient, even if they do not speak the same language. The interpreter can detect the dialect and language and transfer the call to another person who can communicate with them.
"Language barriers keep people from getting the help that they need in an emergency situation and in a timely manner," said Gast. "This device is an essential component in our quest to deliver spotless service in Shelby County without being hampered by the patient's dialect and language."
Gast said the device will help take out some of the guesswork when responding to an emergency in the field.
Emergency rescuers are training on the device and expecting to use it in Shelby County in a few weeks.