In Summit County, some people are working to make sure everyone is getting necessary emergency information, despite a language barrier.
“We have all this information coming up from different departments,” explained Mayra Rojas, who is working with a communications team to post updates on the Buffalo Mountain Fire to social media and an online blog.
“We have a person doing English blogs and posts on social media and the Summit County government website, and after that, I jump up and do the Spanish translation.”
Those online updates include information about evacuations, community meetings, and the firefighting efforts. Summit County officials estimate about 25 percent of the county’s population is Spanish-speaking and wanted to be sure those individuals also received important information.
Rojas, who works for the Summit County Health Department, will post Spanish versions of tweets and is publishing an emergency blog in Spanish, too.
LINK | Emergency blog in English
LINK | Emergency blog in Spanish
“It’s my people,” she said. “And I want to share the word with them, everything is ok. We are here for you guys, and anything you need Summit County is here for you.”
While the government publishes the online translation, one community member decided to volunteer, too.
“The county is doing a great job putting the information in Spanish on their websites, but I want to make sure people get that information verbally in case they don’t have social media,” explained Javier Pineda, who grew up in the area.
REGULAR UPDATES CAN BE FOUND HERE | Summit County Twitter
While his home is safe from the fire, he was worried about others in the community. Pineda came to the first community meeting about the fire on Tuesday night and offered to help.
“I just showed up to the meeting and talked to some volunteer, [and said] ‘Hey, I’m willing to translate if someone wants to go to the back with me I’ll be there,’” he said.
Pineda said several people have asked him to help translate communication from first responders. County officials also recognize Pineda at community meetings, so people know he is there to assist.
“Ten years ago I was not able to speak English,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to help now, fluently, to some of my peers.”