ESL Classes Focus On Emergency Reactions

October 13, 2004--Posted at 5:00p.m. CDT

JONESBORO --Participants in this ESL class are working towards breaking language barriers in emergency situations.

Bob Andrews is the 9-1-1 Director for the City of Jonesboro.

"Hopefully, what we will try to do is answer the small questions. We want to them to give us a name, address, and what type of incident that might be going on.,"said Andrews.

State law requires this ESL teacher to speak only English to her students in class.

Mavis Forrest is the ESL instructor.

"We have phones, and we have been practicing with the phones. I think it might help to see the face of a person they may be talking to,"said Forrest.

Often times making 9-1-1 calls can be very intimidating because of the language barrier.

The goal of today's class is to ease the stress of picking up the phone in the event of an emergency.

"When they call, they are not going to be so nervous and they know they will get someone caring on the other side of the phone that is going to ask them questions they need to know so that we can get help sent to them,"said Andrews.

Students are receptive to the language, and look forward to learning more.

"I think it is wonderful to learn in English.  You don't need to remember in Spanish, you need to know in English,"said one ESL student.

Everyone agrees the better they can communicate, the easier it will be to reach and react to the emergency.