June 6th, 2014 | General | by Andreas Seelisch

Text 911 Service Now in Peel Region for Deaf & Hearing Impaired

A made in Canada initiative, the Text with 9-1-1 service, developed by the CRTC’s interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) Emergency Services Working Group (ESWG), is now available in Peel Region. Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) allows those in the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired (DHHSI) community to call 9-1-1 and communicate via text messages on their cell phones with emergency operators.

The free T9-1-1 service is available only in Canada and, for the time being in select locations. Currently, the service is up and running in:

  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Vancouver, the District of Squamish and the Sunshine Coast Regional District in British Columbia
  • Peel Region, spanning Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon.

The website detailing the service, which is www.textwith9-1-1.ca advises visitors to check back regularly for updates on additional service areas.

The T9-1-1 service is specifically for people in the DHHSI community and can only be accessed by registering with a wireless service provider. At that point the wireless service provider will be able to advise on whether or not your cell phone meets the necessary requirements and is compatible with the Text with 9-1-1 infrastructure.

Before launching, the T9-1-1 service was tested by people of the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired community that volunteered their time over the spring and summer of 2012. According to the website, the volunteers hailed from Vancouver, Toronto, Peel Region and Montreal. “Their observations were positive and their comments helped to develop and improve the service.”

7 Tips on How T9-1-1 emergency calls or texts are made?

  • First, your cell phone must be registered with a wireless service provider or else you will not be able to use the service.
  • A T9-1-1 call must be initiated by a voice call to 9-1-1 on your cell phone.
  • When the call is connected an initial text message will be sent to your cell phone. If this message isn’t received within two minutes it’s advised that you end the call and try again.
  • The message you receive should be 13 digits and begin with 5559-1-1.
  • If possible, the voice call should be left connected throughout your text messaging session with the 9-1-1 operator. This allows the operator to hear background noises that may assist with assessing the nature of the emergency, which enables the provision of enhanced 9-1-1 functions.
  • Your text messages should be as brief and concise as possible.
  • Once the 9-1-1 session has ended you will receive a text message saying “End of 9-1-1 call.

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