IM this article to a friend!

June 3, 2005

Deaf can text 999 calls

From: Belfast Telegraph, UK - Jun 3, 2005

By Jonathan McCambridge

03 June 2005
Police are to use text message technology to enable people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired to contact the emergency services in Northern Ireland.

The project, launched by the Chief Constable today, was developed in partnership with the Deaf Association of Northern Ireland and BT.

People who have registered with the SMS (Short Message Service) emergency text service will be able to use their mobile phones to text the police.

The messages, which can be sent from any part of Northern Ireland, will go to the Police Service's Belfast Regional Control.

Staff will direct the call to one or all of the required emergency services - police, ambulance and fire and rescue.

In addition Disability Link Officers (DLOs) are being trained in all 29 policing District Command Units.

While they will be supporting the new SMS emergency text service they will also promote links between the police and people with special needs.

The DLOs will be trained in sign language. Classes for officers in both British and Irish sign language are being held in Banbridge, Belfast and Londonderry.

© 2005 Independent News and Media (NI) a division of Independent News & media (UK) Ltd