Emergency communications within the limited English proficient Chinese community

Mei Po Yip, Rebecca E. Calhoun, Ian S. Painter, Hendrika W. Meischke, Shin-Ping Tu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Limited English speaking communities face communication challenges during emergencies. Our objective was to investigate Chinese limited English proficiency individuals' perceptions of and inclination to interact with emergency communication systems. A telephone survey was conducted in Mandarin or Cantonese with 250 ethnic Chinese individuals who spoke little or no English. Respondents who spoke no English were less likely to name 9-1-1 as their first source of help for a medical emergency than those who spoke some English (p < 0.01). Those reporting higher levels of confidence in handling the situation were more likely to name 9-1-1 as their first source of help, as were those who listed 9-1-1 as their most trusted source of help (p < 0.01). For this group, the results indicate that calling 9-1-1 may require a sense of self-efficacy. Not calling 9-1-1 in a medical emergency can have serious health consequences, thus interventions are needed to increase confidence in accessing 9-1-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-771
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese-Americans
  • Emergency preparedness
  • English proficiency
  • Telephone survey
  • Underserved populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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