“Text With 911” Service Launched for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Speech Impaired ResidentsNovember 28, 2016
On November 24, the provincial government announced a 911 emergency reporting service for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired that uses text messaging. The “Text with 911” service is designed to work with the built-in texting apps on compatible cellular telephones.
According to the news release, a registered user calls, “911 as usual in an emergency situation, although they don’t need to speak.” The call helps the operator determine the individual’s location, and provides background noise information that can be used by the operator. At that point, “Sask911 will initiate a text message conversation with the caller to determine what emergency services are required.”
Members of the Deaf, deaf, and hard of hearing communities identified the need for this service during the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission’s 2015-16 community consultation process. That process lead to the preparation of the May 2016 report, Access and Equality for Deaf, deaf, and Hard of Hearing People: A Report to Stakeholders, and included the participant observation that a text 911 service could, “improve access to emergency healthcare.”
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