Today, March 24th, The City of Calgary’s Public Safety Communications became the second 9-1-1 centre in Canada and the first in Alberta to offer Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) services specifically for Deaf, hard of hearing, and speech impaired (DHHSI) citizens.
This new system allows DHHSI citizens to converse with a 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Officer (ECO) through text messaging in the event of an emergency.
“Launching text with 9-1-1 has been a priority for our centre for quite some time as it helps our DHHSI citizens get help quicker in an emergency,” said Kay Choi, Public Safety Communications (PSC) Deputy Commander. “This work would not have been possible without the hard work of several Deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired individuals as well as Deaf and Hear Alberta’s staff who shared their knowledge and expertise to help make this launch possible.”
DHHSI individuals will be required to register nationally with their wireless service provider in order to access the T9-1-1 service. While T9-1-1 is not yet available across Canada, national registration allows those DHHSI individuals to use the service in regions which have implemented the service.
“Deaf and Hear Alberta is very excited that the Text with 9-1-1 service is now a reality for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing,” said Executive Director Mona Hennenfent. “Having Text with 9-1-1 can literally make a difference between life and death - particularly for vulnerable seniors and those who live alone. We are so appreciative that The City of Calgary has made this initiative a priority, becoming one of the first major cities in Canada able to accept emergency calls via text.”
Deaf and Hear Alberta will be offering assistance in registering for T9-1-1 to DHHSI individuals this evening and tomorrow evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information on these sessions contact the organization at 403-284-6200 (phone), mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org (email) or 403-284-6205 (Text/TTY).
Members of the DHHSI community are encouraged to visit www.textwith911.ca to learn more about T9-1-1, including information about how to register with their service provider. The website will also offer information about when T9-1-1 becomes available in other regions in Canada.
NOTE: T9-1-1 is not available at this time for members of the general public. Voice calling remains the best and most effective way to access 9-1-1 services by a person who is not deaf, hard of hearing or with speech impairment.