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Emergency line recruits volunteers

Updated: 2006-12-13 11:18

With the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on the horizon, the Beijing Emergency Medical Center set up hotlines on Tuesday to recruit volunteers capable of answering emergency calls in foreign languages.

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The emergency line "120" needs people who speak a foreign language fluently and who can man the phones for at least four hours a month or 100 hours annually, with no restrictions on gender, age or nationality, said Wang Xuelihong, director of the emergency control center.

Based on statistics from the 2004 Athens Olympics -- the Greek capital dealt with 10,800 foreign outpatients and 88 inpatients -- the Center needs 30 to 50 more operators to help deal with foreign athletes and tourists, Wang said.

By 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, five potential volunteers had called 010-66098203 or 66016101 and faxed their resumes, including four English speakers and one Russian, according to Wang.

38-year-old English major Ms. Wang who did not want to give her full name was the first caller. She phoned at half past nine this morning as soon as she saw a small ad in a local newspaper.

"I'm very busy in my job as a senior employee of an international insurance company but I'm eager to experience volunteer work, especially for the Olympics," Wang said, adding that she would be proud to tell her five-year-old daughter about her experience.

Registration will continue through February 2007.

It is the first time the Center -- which currently has 53 Chinese operators, 51 of whom can speak English and 2 French -- has recruited volunteers.