NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — New Bedford will start using interpreters to educate the non-English-speaking community about fire safety.

“We have a very diverse population here in New Bedford, so the idea is through the help of interpreters we’ll be able to reach out to the immigrant population,” New Bedford Fire Department Chief Scott Kruger explained.

The latest U.S. Census data shows 23.1% of the New Bedford population identifies as Hispanic or Latino. Nearly 38% of households report speaking a language other than English at home.

Kruger notes fire safety education plays a key role in shaping residents’ daily habits.

“Most fires start with some type of human involvement, whether it’s carelessness, an intentional, or unintentional act,” he said. “Whether you’re a building owner, tenant, at home, school, or work, we all need the knowledge to prevent fires and to understand how to respond when one occurs.”

A new dedicated fire safety educator will go beyond fire safety to teach babysitter safety classes, dormitory safety training for teenagers, and senior citizen fire safety. The fire safety educator will also administer CPR, defibrillator, first aid, and fire extinguisher training.

This is all part of the recent expansion to the New Bedford Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Unit.

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