Today the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) announced that they are ready to implement Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) service for the deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech impaired (DHHSI) community in Canada.
Canadian wireless carriers have completed the required network upgrades to be able to support T9-1-1 but before the service can go public, the 9-1-1 call centres must also receive an upgrade.
The CTWA has also launched a new website — www.Textwith911.ca — which is set up to provide members of the DHHSI community information about T9-1-1, including up-to-date service and registration information. The new site will also notify users when the service will be rolled out in their area.
T9-1-1 provides the DHHSI community an alternative way to contact 9-1-1 in an emergency, using text messaging. The user will begin by dialling 9-1-1 and the call centre will receive notification telling them the user is a part of the DHHSI community. The 9-1-1 caller will then initiate a text message with the user to address the emergency accordingly.
“Extending 9-1-1 services through text messaging is an important step in the evolution of using technology to keep all Canadians safe,” said CWTA President & CEO Bernard Lord. “Canada’s wireless industry looks forward to working with the public safety community in rolling out this critical service across the country.”
The service will only be available to the DHHSI community who register their cell phones with their wireless carriers. For any other person, voice calling remains the only way to communicate with a 9-1-1 operator.
The unique Canadian solution was developed by the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) Emergency Services Working Group (ESWG), comprised of members from Emergency Services, telecommunications service providers, vendors and other stakeholders, including CWTA. T9-1-1 was trialed with volunteers from the DHHSI community in the spring and summer of 2012 in Vancouver, Toronto, Peel Region and Montreal.
Note that any text messages sent to the digits “9-1-1” do not reach emergency services.
The new service is not yet available in any part of Canada but the service will be implemented by 9-1-1 call centres all around Canada at different periods of time over the next several years.
[via Text with 9-1-1]