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October 27, 2017 9:06 pm

New 9-1-1 Text Service ‘Will Save Lives’

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 @ 2:10 PM

Andrea Palmer, vice president of the Northern BC Family Hearing Society

Prince George, B.C.- Deaf and speech-impaired individuals and their families in the northern interior are celebrating today.

This as regional districts in the region are now providing people who are deaf/deaf-blind, hard-of-hearing or speech impaired (DHHSI)with the ability to contact 9-1-1 through a new specialized text service, called Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1).

It’s available to residents living within the regional districts of Fraser-Fort George, Cariboo, Kitimat-Stikine and Bulkley-Nechako who pre-register with their wireless providers.

The service is provided by E-Comm – the emergency communications centre responsible for answering 9-1-1 calls in the northern interior.

T9-1-1 allows any DHHSI person who has pre-registered their cellphone with their wireless carrier to communicate with police, fire and ambulance call-takers via text during an emergency.

To use the service, callers must place a voice call to 9-1-1 in order to establish a voice network connection and initiate the special messaging technology.

“What Text 9-1-1 brings our children and families is the ability to communicate in the same way anyone else can in emergency situations,” said Andrea Palmer, vice president of the Northern BC Family Hearing Society.

“This service will make a real and significant difference in the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing children and families. This service will save lives.”

When E-Comm receives a call from a DHHSI person who has pre-registered for the service, an alert will trigger at the 9-1-1 centre to indicate there is a DHHSI caller on the line.

The 9-1-1 call-taker will then launch the special messaging system, allowing them to communicate with the caller through a special text session.

Members of the DHHSI community can visit www.TextSWith911.ca to register.


It’s a good start, and certainly a great tool for those with hearing or speech impairments.

But we’re behind the times as far as having text-to-911 capability for all people without special registration. It can make a big difference in situations where it might not be safe to talk, allowing a person to summon help and provide important information to emergency personnel. An example would be in a domestic abuse situation where being heard on the phone with the police may put the victim in further danger.

    An excellent point, and smart comment!

    Totally agree! There are so many reasons this might be handy. Another would be if you had a stroke and your speech was slurred and difficult to understand. I’m going to register a phone for my daughter who has selective mutism. Very glad that I can at least do that.

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