Text-to-911 service helps out deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Dealing with an emergency is hard enough, but for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, it can be difficult to communicate the emergency to the people that can help them. That’s where the text-to-911 comes in. It’s been live in Nebraska for the last four years and on Saturday, the people who use the technology were able to see it in action.
“You’re looking at situations where this truly is the difference of safety,” said Jessica Loos, Communications Manager for Lincoln Police.
On Saturday folks in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community were able to learn more about a service that is able to help them in case of an emergency.
“For me, it’s them applying knowns to unknowns,” said Loos.
Text-to-911 allows someone to simply message 911 and provide some key details about a situation, like location, type of emergency and any other information that can help dispatchers. The training included a rundown of the technology, a question-and-answer session and a tour of the dispatch center that handles the texts.
“In any emergency situation regardless of your individual capabilities, there’s so many unknowns and getting ahold of 911 and reaching help shouldn’t be one of those,” said Loos.
In the future they hope to create a video call option if the person who is deaf of hard of hearing can’t text. The service has gained recognition over the years and continues to grow.
“I think text-to-911 has brought to the surface that there is a need for such vast variety of ways to communicate with 911 because not everyone has the same opportunities,” said Loos.
Right now, Text to 911 is implemented in all but 20 Nebraska counties. The commission for the deaf and hard of hearing is working with the Nebraska public service commission to get text-to-911 implemented across the state.
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