Windsor

Text 911 program coming to Windsor

As of December of this year, a new text 911 service will be available to the hearing and speech impaired community.
As of December of this year, a new text 911 service will be available to the hearing and speech impaired community. (Canadian Hearing Society)

The hearing and speech impaired community will soon have another way to get help in an emergency.

As of December of this year, a new text 911 service will be available.

Currently, those with hearing or speech impediments can only use a teletypewriter (TTY) to call for help.

But those are attached to a land line.

"You can't bring a TTY out into the world with you. They're not portable," Lori Powers, the director of the emergency 911 centre for Windsor police, said. "You could use some other system but [with] texting, that means they will be able to communicate with us outside of their residence."

Tuesday night, Windsor police and the Canadian Hearing Society held a workshop to explain how the new service works.

Those at the event found out they'll have to register their cell phone with their wireless provider.

Powers explained how someone in need would use the service.

"They can make a voice call to 911. The 911 centre then gets a message that indicates to them someone from that community wishes to text with them and then the 911 centre initiates the text," she said.

Powers admits there may be some limitations - text messages can drop - but she says "it's a best efforts response."

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