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Lack of Spanish Means Lapse in Emergency Service

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WILSON — When people call 9-1-1 to report anemergency, they take for granted the person on the other end of the linewill speak their language, but that's not always the case. While even mostautomatic teller machines are bilingual, some emergency service operationsare not.

There is push on in Wilson County to make the Spanish languageavailable on 9-1-1 lines. Dispatchers say more and more calls are comingin from people who speak only Spanish and Al Gaskill, of Directorof Johnston County's 9-1-1 service says that makes helping peopledifficult.

Spanish speaking people, like Mariana Escamilla, aremoving to North Carolina in increasing numbers. And she says they'reputting down roots. She learned English as a child, but says manyMexican-Americans have no plans to learn fluent English.

Trino Zamora might be part of the answer. The Mexican born deputyspeaks both English and Spanish fluently. He says that ability has alreadyhelpedhis department and the community he serves.

Gaskill says there aren't many bilingual public service workers around.

Emergency crews across the state understand it's a problem that's notgoing to go away soon.

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