Following the Feb. 17th Committee on Homeland Security, Justice, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs hearing, the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency seeks to clarify its 911 capabilities relevant to serving the territory’s Spanish-speaking residents.
VITEMA currently staffs 37 911 call operators. Operators’ language capabilities include English and patois.
The agency is actively working to recruit 911 operators, with an emphasis on individuals fluent in Spanish. In the interim, VITEMA has partnered with the Virgin Islands Police Department and the Virgin Islands Fire Service to provide translation support within minutes of a call.
VITEMA expects that Language Line Solutions Inc., a system that provides real-time translation and transmission services of over 50 languages and dialects, will be up and running by March 18.
“911 operators are the community’s first connection to critical resources during an emergency situation. Our goal is to inclusively serve our community by facilitating the seamless deployment of vital emergency services. The agency has had challenges recruiting qualified bilingual operators,” VITEMA Director Daryl Jaschen said.
“It is my hope that the attention brought to our need for Spanish speakers will ignite an interest in members of our community to take up this role. We look forward to expanding our team in service of our Latin community,” said Jaschen.
Spanish-speaking individuals interested in this opportunity should contact VITEMA at 442-2244, 773-2244 or 776-2244.
For further details, applicants may visit www.vitema.vi.gov.