In an emergency, the last thing you want to hear is, "I can't understand you." The reality is emergency dispatchers in the Northwest generally speak one language, English. But in our increasingly polyglot society, some people in distress inevitably can't communicate in English.
A recent emergency call came in to the Willamette Valley 911 Center in Salem, Oregon where the caller didn't speak the same language as the dispatcher. This call could have happened anywhere in the West. A call in a foreign language is a near-daily occurrence in this region's urban counties.