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November 17, 2004
9-1-1 = Emergency in any language - Speak Your Language
The City of Toronto is launching an awareness campaign to let people in
Toronto's diverse community know that they have access to free life-saving
9-1-1 emergency services in 150 different languages.

Councillor Olivia Chow, Chair of the Community Services Committee, visited a
bus shelter in Scarborough to unveil new posters designed to raise awareness
among non-English-speaking Toronto residents and visitors that they can obtain
emergency service in over 150 languages when they call 9-1-1. The posters are
being placed strategically in transit shelters and recycling bins across
Toronto where large populations of recent immigrants reside.

"We have to do what we can to prevent tragic situations where people don't call
9-1-1 because they believe they won't be understood," said Councillor Chow.
"Today we are telling the citizens of Toronto they can call 9-1-1 in their own
languages in a police, fire or medical emergency. Dispatchers can get an
interpreter on the line in seconds to get vital information or offer
instructions to the callers."

The posters say "9-1-1 = Emergency in any language" in English. Then, to speak
directly to Toronto's non-English speaking population, the phrase "911 =
Emergency - Speak Your Language" has been translated into eleven languages. Two
variations of the poster are being used for the campaign. At 59 transit
shelters, maintained by Viacom, posters will contain translations into Chinese
(simplified and traditional characters), Farsi, French, Korean, Tamil, and
Urdu. At 250 EUCAN recycling bins, the languages are Chinese (simplified and
traditional), French, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

The locations of the posters have been selected to reach out to areas of
Toronto with the largest populations of new immigrants and non-English-speaking

"We hope people who see these posters will get the message and tell their
families and friends that they can call 9-1-1 and our emergency services will
help them, and that they can speak their own language," added Councillor Chow.

Media Contacts:
Councillor Olivia Chow, 416-392-4044 office
Larry Roberts, Toronto EMS, 416-392-2255 office; 416-708-8125 cell



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