Deaf persons can now use a 9-1-1 text service

Deaf, deaf-blind, hard-of-hearing or speech impaired (DHHSI) persons will now be able to contact 9-1-1 through a specialized text service.

Deaf, deaf-blind, hard-of-hearing or speech impaired (DHHSI) persons living within the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako will now be able to contact 9-1-1 through a specialized text service.

The so-called ‘text with 9-1-1’ service, provided by E-Comm, will help DHHSI persons communicate with police, fire and ambulance call-takers via text during an emergency.

Andrea Palmer, vice president of the Northern B.C. Family Hearing Society, said the new service brings DHHSI persons the ability to communicate in the same way that anyone else can in emergency situations.

“This service is also a game changer for first responders to DHHSI people,” she said. “Now our children and families can communicate the enhanced information that can save lives in emergencies.”

The specialized technology was developed by Canada’s telecommunications services providers and is available only in select parts of the country.

In order to use this service, DHHSI persons must pre-register their cellphone with their wireless carrier. E-Comm points out that this service is only available to the DHHSI community. Text messages sent directly to the digits ‘9-1-1’ do not reach emergency services anywhere in Canada. Text with 9-1-1 for the public-at-large is anticipated in the future as the nationwide 9-1-1 infrastructure evolves.

Members of the DHHSI community should visit www. to register their cellphones with their wireless service provider and to learn more about how the system works.


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