Imagine calling for help, needing police or medical assistance that could save your life, and not being able to relay that message to the person on the other end of the phone.
That's reality for non-English speakers across the state.
It all begins with a phone call.
From there, it's up to first responders to answer. Sometimes, that is easier said than done.
"We have some very diverse languages. Not only Spanish, but we have some Eastern African and Southeast Asian languages and others, Arabic," Grand Island Emergency Management Director, Jon Rosenlund said.
"It's a mixture of Spanish and indigenous language, and for some people it's more indigenous than Spanish," Grand Island Police Chief Steve Lamken said.
It's an extra hurdle in the already tough task of keeping the public safe.
"In emergency situations that creates some of the largest problems for us and for our communications center when they get the 911 calls," Lamken said.
So, getting through to get help often means calling on someone to interpret. That's also a challenge.
"We just don't have the staff experience in Spanish to cover all of our Spanish speaking calls, let alone all the other languages that we may see," Rosenlund said.
For dispatch, the next step is turning to a key resource.
"We'll use the Language Line at least once a day, on average," Rosenlund said. "We'll use it thirty to forty times a month, and we get far more non-English speakers dialing 911."
Police said they also use the Language Line, but their first option is bilingual staff. They have nine bilingual staff members in total. They'll also use others on the scene to interpret.
"Typically we use family members and friends to communicate with a victim or just to communicate with people in an injury or illness or something when we can get that information across," Lamken said.
But, the barriers are still there especially in situations where family and friends can't help, like in an investigation.
"You always have to be concerned about whether the translator is getting the message across," Grand Island Police Captain Robert Faldorf said.
Another challenge to relaying that message is dialects.
There are more than twenty different languages spoken in Grand Island alone, and within each of those are even more dialects.
This presents perhaps the biggest challenge for emergency responders.
"Our communities are becoming more and more diverse and we probably need to develop a little better relationship with the citizens out there to help us," Faldorf said.
"No matter what language, no matter what circumstances, we want to get the right people to the right places as soon as possible," Rosenlund said. "We're going to use every tool that we have to locate and to understand that caller."