Why we had don’t eat poop shirts in 4 languages: CDC Emergency partners and limited English proficiency

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control there are at least 350 languages spoken in U.S. homes (2009-2013 data).

People who have limited English proficiency can be found in all 50 states (2014 data).

About 65,00 people in the U.S. who have limited English proficiency speak Navajo or another native North American Language (2009-2013 data).

    Effective communication during an emergency can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. This is true whether communicating with those whose primary language is English or with people who have limited English proficiency. People who are limited English proficient (LEP) are those who “do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English” (https://www.lep.gov/faqs/faqs.html#OneQ1).

People who are LEP can be found throughout the United States and when it comes to planning for, responding to, and recovering from disasters, considering their needs can help ensure a better emergency response. Below are some tips from our colleagues at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for reaching LEP communities in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery.

Establish policies and procedures that include language access in your emergency plan.

Identify the language groups in your area.

Ensure LEP individuals can access your programs and services.

Conduct outreach efforts.

Include LEP individuals and language access issues in training,

Provide notifications, warnings, and other information in the languages of the affected communities.

Plan for language access needs as part of survivor care.

Do not rely upon children as interpreters and translators.

For more information on how to carry out these recommendations and where to find tools to help take action, see Tips and Tools for Reaching Limited English Proficient Communities in Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.