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August 23, 2016
For immediate release

New technology helps Islanders with hearing loss communicate with 911

Justice and Public Safety

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Islanders who have hearing loss or speech impairments will soon be able to use Text with 911 for emergency services.

“Text with 911 technology can help deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired Islanders communicate with 911 operators through text message,” said Premier Wade MacLauchlan, minister responsible for Justice and Public Safety. “Text with 911 technology will provide better access to emergency services for Islanders who have challenges speaking to or hearing a 911 operator over the phone.”

Islanders who intend to use the service must pre-register with their wireless provider. When they experience an emergency, they phone 911 as usual, and the 911 operator receives a notice to continue the conversation by text message.

The text service is only available to those with hearing or speech impairments.

Text with 911 will be available for use starting September 1, 2016.

For more information, visit www.textwith911.ca

Backgrounder

Text with 911 will be available in Prince Edward Island

Islanders who have hearing loss or speech impairments can soon use Text with 911 for emergency services using text messaging on their cell phones.

This service will help deaf or hard of hearing or speech impaired Islanders communicate with 911 operators with ease and provide better access emergency services.

Islanders who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or with speech impairments must register their mobile phone number with their wireless provider, and ensure they have a compatible mobile phone before using the service.

In an emergency, they call 911, and the emergency call centre will automatically receive notification to begin the conversation by text message.

The text service is only available to those with hearing or speech impairments.

Text with 911 will be available for use starting September 1, 2016.

For more information, visit www.textwith911.ca

About 911 in PEI

The provincial 911 dispatch centre answers all 911 calls for PEI. The calls are assessed and emergency response is dispatched.

During 2015, over 34,000 emergency calls were received at the provincial 911 centre.

What is Text to 9-1-1 (T9-1-1)?

T9-1-1 is a service available to Islanders who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech impaired.

During an emergency, T9-1-1 service provides the provincial 911 centres with the ability to converse with the caller using text messaging.

Those needing this service must register for T9-1-1 before using the service.

How do Islanders register for the service?

Islanders can contact their wireless service provider for more information. An active wireless subscription and supported cell phone are required to use T9-1-1.

Why is T9-1-1 not available for everyone?

Voice calling remains the only way to communicate with 9-1-1 services for a person that is not deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or with speech impairment.

During an emergency, time is of the essence and talking enables faster communication than texting.

In most cases, T9-1-1 calls require more time than a voice call to communicate with emergency services.

Can a person register for the T9-1-1 service, even if they are not deaf, do not have hearing loss or are not speech impaired, but do have a close friend or relative who is and uses their cellphone?

Yes. Registration is available to family members and close friends of deaf or hard of hearing or speech impaired Islanders in the event that this person may require access to their phone in an emergency situation.

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Media Contact: Katie MacDonald
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