911 for deaf, speech impaired users in Gananoque

A Gananoque Police Service cruiser. (Gananoque Police Service/Facebook via Newswatch Group)

GANANOQUE – Town police have jumped on board a service for people with speech or hearing impairments facing an emergency.

Text with 911 started yesterday (April 1) and will only be available for those people that are identified with a hearing or speech impairment.

They have to register with the DHHSI system through their cell phone service provider.

It will allow users to communicate with a 911 dispatcher via text message.

“Texting directly to 911 is not an option for either the registered DHHSI member or anyone from the wider cellular community. The text will not reach an emergency services operator in that way,” said Garry Hull, Gananoque police chief.

The 911 communication has to start with a phone call and then it switches over to SMS messaging once the caller and dispatcher make contact.

Those trying to text 911 who are not registered will get an automated message back telling them to pick up the phone and call.

At this point, the service is available in over 500 Ontario communities, including those served by Prescott and Brockville police and the Leeds-Grenville County O.P.P. detachments.

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