If you have the ability to speak and hear and you are in the middle of an emergency in the US, what do you do?
Call 9-1-1 of course.
But what if you are Deaf and/or have trouble speaking?
Currently your situation will determine what you can do. If you are at home and you are Deaf, you probably won’t have much trouble contacting 9-1-1. You probably have a Video Relay Service in place so you can place a video call and an interpretor will relay your emergency to the 9-1-1 service.
But what happens if you are not at home stranded, for example, on a highway at night? Hopefully someone will stop to help you, but if not, 9-1-1 services are NOT available to you unless you can speak! That’s right. 9-1-1 does not accept video or text which means they only accept emergencies that can be expressed by voice only.
Thankfully someone is trying to change this. The Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC) will petition the FCC to make changes to the current 9-1-1 service. The EAAC is also asking for your input in survey-form to understand better what modality you’d use to contact 9-1-1 in case of emergency.
It’s my impression that some if not many in the Deaf-World do not even realize they can not contact 9-1-1 from “just a smart-phone”. Please, if you know anyone who is Deaf, pass this link along to them. The EAAC is taking input and feedback until April 24.
This is a national survey being conducted to see how people with disabilities want to call 9-1-1 in the future when they can use the Internet to send pictures, video, texts, as well as voice telephone calls. This is an important accessibility objective! When you need to call for help, how will you call 9-1-1? Let us know! To take the emergency access NG911 national survey NOW, click on one of the options below. This survey will be available until April 24, 2011.