Iowa EMS looking for Spanish speaking providers

About 5 percent of emergency calls are from Spanish speakers, and the department wants to recruit more bilingual employees

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Siouxland Paramedics is seeking to recruit EMS providers that can help bridge a Spanish language barrier.

Operations Director Brian Jacobson told that 6.6 percent of households are Spanish-speaking, and Spanish speakers account for about 5 percent of emergency calls. The department employees 52 workers, and five speak the language.

"It's an ongoing problem, actually, all over the country where folks are needing medical care, or public safety care, and we have a language barrier there,” Jacobsen said.

Rather than using translation apps, Siouxland Paramedics currently works with the local police department to dispatch Spanish-speaking officers to a scene that needs a translator. The EMS agency is looking for a way to bring in more bilingual employees; the police department officers an incentive to those who speak another language. 

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