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Listos Teaches Disaster Preparedness with a Spanish Language Curriculum

Course helps Spanish speakers and their communities become self-reliant and resilient during emergency situations

Smart. Ready. Prepared.

Those three words correspond to the Spanish word “listos” when translated into English.

Listos is a Spanish language preparedness curriculum that educates and prepares Spanish-speaking individuals for disasters or emergencies.

        |  Emergency Preparedness 2017  |  Complete Series Index  |

The program focuses on educating Latino communities, locally and around the country, for basic emergency and disaster readiness in a culturally, socially and linguistically appropriate manner.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about 3 million Spanish-speaking people with limited literacy live in the United States.

Topics during the class include disaster supply kits, proper use of a fire extinguisher, team organization, a family communication plan, the psychological impact of disasters and information on disaster medicine.

“Those are the basic components of the training, but it’s more than that,” said Gracie Huerta, co-creator of the Listos program and a preparedness educator for more than 25 years.

“We are also teaching people how to be self-reliant and community resilience.”

In hopes of improving the relationship between citizens and first responders, Listos introduces emergency personnel in a neutral environment.

“We want people to be exposed to emergency responders in a nonemergency setting,” Huerta said.

Listos collaborates with local organizations, nonprofits and government agencies.​

The Listos curriculum was updated in 2009 and revised again in 2016 by the Fire Services Training Institute and approved by both State OES and FEMA, said Yolanda McGlinchey, manager of the City of Santa Barbara's emergency services office.

This newly revised Listos program has been taught to representatives of Chili and Mexico, McGlinchey said.

In the county, the Listos program is under the (FSTI) in collaboration with the Aware and Prepare Initiative.

Liliana Encinas, Listos Program Coordinator, coordinates all the Listos training in the county.

She is also a State and Federal train-the-trainer for Listos.

“We teach Listos as a family unit,” she said. “We invite everyone — children, adults, seniors and youth.”

Listos is one of the first emergency response training programs taught in Spanish.

Huerta noted that findings from a FEMA review reported “there are very few in-person and small-group discussion Spanish-language disaster education programs that provide culturally and linguistically tailored information to Spanish-speaking populations.”

Listos also is supported by FEMA Region IX and a grassroots approach funded by the Orfalea Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that focused on disaster readiness from 2000 to 2015 before sunsetting itself.

The Listos course borrows from the Community Emergency Response Team curriculum, an educational program that trains civilians on basic disaster response skills.

“Listos is more personal preparedness and CERT is about working as a team,” Huerta said. “It is a steppingstone to CERT, where people can get more extensive team training.”

CERT is taught in English and Spanish throughout the county.

Developed and implemented by the Los Angeles Fire Department in 1985, it helps citizens understand their responsibility in preparing for a disaster.

“When people have had previous training for disasters, they are more likely to overcome the disaster,” Huerta said.

For more information about Listos, email Encinas at [email protected] or call 805.284.2045.

        |  Emergency Preparedness 2017  |  Complete Series Index  |

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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