“Instead of trying to teach 300 firefighters elementary Spanish so they can follow a conversation, we use these,” [Senior Firefighter] Ludwig said as he held out five pages of translated questions.
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Questions such as, “Show me the injury?” and “Are you pregnant?” and “How many months?” and “Are you taking any medications?” are imperative for firefighters trying to treat a patient.
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After compiling his flash cards, Ludwig visited several Hispanic stores to have shopkeepers review his Spanish. The first thing he noted was the suspicions that greeted him because of the badge on his shirt.
Ludwig said once the Hispanic store owners realized he was trying to help them, they couldn’t do enough for him. They did correct some of his grammar, Ludwig said humbly.
The flash cards also contain phonetic spelling of the Spanish so firefighters can ask questions if their victims aren’t literate in their native language.
Ludwig said he expects to fine-tune the flash cards as he learns more in the weeks ahead about required questions from the firefighters he’s teaching.
Once he is satisfied with the flash cards, Ludwig will have them laminated and placed in medical bags on fire engines. The lamination will allow patients to mark on the cards with an erasable marker while answering multiple-choice questions.
That’s leadership, and courts should be using more tools like these.
Of course, a mobile app version might be even better!