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April 28, 2006

Emergency text service pioneered

From: BBC News - UK - Apr 28, 2006

Deaf people and those with speech problems will now be able to contact the emergency services by text in a pioneering scheme.

Fife Constabulary launched the innovative service on Friday for Fife residents who are deaf or who have hearing and speech difficulties.

One text to the force will put users in touch with all three of the main emergency services.

Registration forms have been sent out to 350 people.

Ch Insp Alistair McKeen said: "This new service fills a gap, particularly in relation to 999 calls.

"Everyone who lives and works in Fife should have the right to be able to communicate freely with the emergency services, no matter their circumstances, and that includes people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

"I would encourage these people to register with us for this new service.

"It is vital people register as we must know who is contacting us by text.

"This could be crucial in the event of an emergency when time is of the essence."

Fife Council's Deaf Communication Service sign language interpreter Debbie Dougall said: "These days deaf people use their mobile phones to keep in touch by text, just as hearing people do.

"This is why we welcome Fife Constabulary's decision to offer this new texting service.

"It is also empowering deaf sign language users who can then have more independence."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/04/27 23:19:54 GMT