Access & Functional Needs: English as a Second Language (ESL)
Most people living in the United States read, write, speak and understand English. There are many people, however, for whom English is not their primary language.
According to the 2000 National Census data, 28.3 percent of all Spanish speakers, 27.2 percent of all Russian speakers, 28.2 percent of all Chinese speakers, and 32.4 percent of all Vietnamese speakers reported that they spoke English ‘‘not well’’ or ‘‘not at all’’.
Language for limited english proficiency (LEP) persons can be a barrier to accessing important benefits or services, understanding and exercising important rights, complying with applicable responsibilities, or understanding other information provided by Fairfax County programs and activities, including emergency preparedness information and alert messages.
Tips for Residents with Limited English Proficiency
Make an emergency plan that is specific to your needs, including:
- an evacuation plan that includes transportation, a communication plan for contacting friends or relatives, and a personal or family emergency supply kit
- a communications plan that identifies multiple emergency contacts, for family, caregivers, doctors, and other important cultural organizations, both local and at the location you are evacuating to, if out of the Fairfax County area
- identifies where to go in an emergency, both a nearby site for a home-based emergency as well as an out of region evacuation location in case of a catastrophic regional disaster
- identifies how you will get there (via car, family or friend, public transit), and
- who you can call for non-life threatening assistance, or call 9-1-1 for emergency help
Make a basic emergency supply kit that you can take with you, including:
- medications and photocopies of prescriptions
- copies of important insurance documents (home, life, auto, and medical)
- important identification, such as driver license, insurance cards, credit cards
- your list of medications, as well as doctor and pharmacy information, should be kept in a waterproof bag
- if applicable, a copy of medical device information (style and serial numbers), warranty, and service support information
- hearing aids and extra batteries
- oxygen, or other assistive technologies, if applicable
Similarly, if appropriate, the plan and kit should include any food, supplies and veterinary documents needed by a service animal or pets.
Keep a backup list of emergency information, including contacts,
medications, medical device information, and doctor telephone
numbers, in another location such as a friend’s home or with a
trusted family member.