Released on November 24, 2016Today Government Relations Minister Donna Harpauer announced the launch of Text With 911, a service where residents who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired can register their cellphone so they can communicate with Sask911 operators via text message.
“Today’s announcement is a positive step forward for our province,” Minister Responsible for SaskTel Dustin Duncan said. “We are pleased to be able to support this important service across our province, and most importantly ensure that deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired residents have proper access to the 911 services they need in the event of an emergency.”
Registered users still need to call 911 as usual in an emergency situation, although they don’t need to speak. This is so the operator will receive their wireless location and will be able to hear any background noises that will better allow them to assess the situation. Once the call begins, Sask911 will initiate a text message conversation with the caller to determine what emergency services are required.
“The Government of Saskatchewan’s long-anticipated announcement has the potential of enhancing the safety and quality of life for persons with hearing loss, which comprise the largest segment of the population of persons with disabilities,” Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Executive Director Nairn Gillies said. “Text With 911 will go a long way in enabling the caller to receive the appropriate service in a timely manner.”
Like Sask911, Text With 911 should only be used for emergency situations that require an immediate response from police, fire or emergency medical services.
Residents can visit www.textwith911.ca for information from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) about the service, including instructional videos in American Sign Language.
For more information, contact: