PEOPLE who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech difficulties are being urged to register for a UK-wide trial that allows people to send SMS text messages from their mobile phone to the 999 emergency services.
Guido Gybels, director of technology at the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, said: “It means that caller ID and location information are available to the emergency service in the same way as for voice calls from a mobile.
“Access to 999 could literally be a matter of life and death, yet until now many people who are deaf or hard of hearing have found themselves unable to contact the emergency services while on the move.
“This pilot service therefore represents a major step forward and we hope that as many people with hearing loss as possible will register and take part. In doing so, they will help to make sure the best possible service is developed.”
The service has already handled over 100 real emergency calls and recently the number of registrations topped 4,000 – but RNID still need more people to sign up to help them fully develop the service.
To register you must text the word ‘register’ to 999, then follow the instructions.
Alternatively, you can register online at www.emergencysms.org.uk
The service is being supported by the Government, emergency services, Ofcom, the telecommunications sector (British Telecom, Cable and Wireless, Vodafone, Orange, O2, T-Mobile and 3) and RNID.