Urasoe ready for emergency calls in five languages
Urasoe City Fire Headquarters has started a test of a new service that responds to emergency calls placed to the general emergency number 119 in five languages 24 hours a day. The test service was started on Jun. 12th and it’s the first in Okinawa.
The new service utilizes services of a translation call center in Tokyo that translate between the foreign caller and the receiver of the emergency call at the Urasoe Fire Station Emergency Center. The service can handle five languages; English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese. The service so far works for emergency calls placed from within Urasoe City.
As soon as the receiver of the emergency call acknowledges the person who made the emergency call is a foreigner, the call is connected with a translator in Tokyo. Then all three are able to talk simultaneously among themselves.
The Urasoe City Government decided to install the service because it anticipates increasing demand for emergency services from overseas tourists and residents in the future. After the start of the service, fire station officials say that they already received one emergency call from a foreign person on Jun. 13thand were able to take care of the situation by using the new system.
Nationwide, this service has been installed in 50 fire departments out of a total of 780.