Korean and Vietnamese translations of disaster preparation advisories will be distributed in North Hempstead in an effort to reach more residents in an area with rapidly changing demographics.
Officials from North Hempstead and Adelphi University have partnered to distribute the materials that have been published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and include the essentials for an emergency supply kit, including medication, flashlights and water. Officials said the documents will be made available to nail salons around the town — businesses often operated by Asian residents.
A public service announcement on the town’s website urging residents to pack emergency kits will soon have Vietnamese and Korean subtitles. An Adelphi University grant was used to fund the video, which was previously released last year with Mandarin and Spanish subtitles.
The town is looking to accommodate a growing number of Asian and Hispanic residents. Officials, wary of hurricane season, said they do not want any residents to be excluded from receiving the preparation materials.
North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said the recent threat of Tropical Storm Hermine, which did not make landfall on Long Island but caused strong winds, waves and some coastal flooding, inspired the multilingual outreach. “We narrowly missed Hermine,” Bosworth said. “We missed so many of the people who don’t speak English or can’t read English.”
The town’s video features a family’s efforts to prepare for a storm. A sequence offers a comical, but serious look at what could happen if storm survivors were without water or other necessities.
In North Hempstead, about 15.3 percent of the town’s population — nearly 35,000 residents — is Asian, according to 2015 U.S. Census figures. In 2000, the town was home to 20,000 Asians, making up more than 9 percent of its residents, according to U.S. Census data.
The town’s Hispanic population was nearly 31,000 in 2015, about 13.5 percent of North Hempstead’s population. The town had 22,000 Hispanic residents in 2000, or about 9.8 percent of its residents, according to census figures.
North Hempstead also has worked to reach more of its residents through its informational signs. Pictorial signs were added near fishing line receptacles, instructing residents to dispose of material that can harm coastal life.
Meghan McPherson, assistant director for the Center for Health Innovation at Adelphi University, said the effort allows non-English speakers to “have this information correctly translated to them to be prepared, so when they hear a storm is coming, they know what to do, and they’re clear on what to do, and they can tell their families, and they’re less vulnerable.”
The public service announcement can be viewed online at northhempsteadny.gov/ready.
Bosworth said she is considering adding subtitles in additional languages, including Farsi and Haitian Creole.
“We’re in a multicultural society. We need reach out to as many people” as possible, Bosworth said.
FEMA emergency preparedness documents are available in these languages in North Hempstead: English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese
North Hempstead’s Asian population:
2015: Roughly 15.3 percent of the town’s population — nearly 35,000 residents
2000: More than 9 perdent of the town’s population — about 20,000 residents
Source: U.S. Census data