New service for the speech and hearing impaired
The "Régie intermunicipale de police Thérèse-De Blainville” (police board) is pleased to inform the residents of the towns of Boisbriand, Lorraine, Rosemère and Sainte-Thérèse that a new 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) text messaging service has been implemented, allowing members of the deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech impaired (DHHSI) community to communicate via text message in an emergency.
"In the past, it was rather difficult for our telecommunication agents to communicate with a person with a speech or hearing impairment. This new service will remove barriers to communication and allow our teams to intervene more effectively,” noted Danny Bastien, responsible for the Thérèse-De Blainville Police Board’s emergency call centre.
A user-friendly service
When an individual who is deaf or has a speech or hearing impairment must contact 9-1-1 in an emergency (police, fire department, ambulance), he can dial 9-1-1 from his cell phone. He does not need to speak, since the 9-1-1 agent will receive a message instructing him to communicate with the caller by text message. The 9-1-1 agent will then open a text messaging session with the caller in order to respond to the emergency.
In order to use this service, the caller must have registered for T9-1-1 service with his wireless service provider and have a cell phone capable of sending and receiving text messages.
In addition to being trained in the use of this new tool, telecommunication agents at the Board’s 9-1-1 call centre have also received training organized by members of the operations table of the North Shore 9-1-1 emergency call centres. This training was adapted by the "Centre de réadaptation en déficience physique du Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux des Laurentides” (Rehabilitation Centre of the Laurentian CISSS) to provide agents with an understanding of language subtleties in dealing with individuals who have a speech or hearing impairment. These agents received a three-hour training in order to communicate effectively with this clientele, who often use unusual syntax in their written communications.
Information on the operation, registration and availability of T9-1-1 service in Canada is available on the website of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association at www.textoau911.ca