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November 8, 2010

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Phrasebook to help overcome language barrier in emergencies

The British Red Cross has published a multilingual phrasebook to help emergency responders communicate with individuals who don’t speak English as a first language.

The Major Incident Response Multilingual Phrasebook will be showcased at the Voluntary Sector Civil Protection Forum in London on 11 November, before receiving its formal launch at the Emergency Services Show on 24-25 November in Coventry. The book has been launched in partnership with Community Resilience, which is a non-profit organisation that provides emergency resources for the private sector

The phrasebook lists 62 essential questions and phrases in 51 languages, which would be useful in an emergency situation. British Red Cross civil protection and emergency planning advisor, Moya Wood-Heath, said: “From experience over recent years, the British Red Cross has identified a mounting need to facilitate communication between emergency responders and individuals affected by an emergency, particularly those for whom English is not their first language. 
“With the support of Community Resilience, we have been able to produce this very exciting practical communications tool for emergency responders, which complements the existing Emergency Multilingual Phrasebook which deals with medical matters only, and was produced jointly by the British Red Cross and the NHS in 2004.”

The phrasebook costs £20 and can be bought through the British Red Cross’ online shop at

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