Stephanie Bryant with the BC Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association conducts a test call of the Text with 911 for deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired residents. (FVRD)

Text with 911 now available in Fraser Valley Regional District

Service to help people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired

Getting emergency services in the Fraser Valley just became a lot easier for those who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired (DHHSI).

The Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD), in partnership with E-Comm and the BC Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA-BC) launched a new Text with 911 service in observance of National Access Awareness Week and Speech and Hearing Awareness Month.

“The BC Provincial Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association congratulates the FVRD on enhancing the 911 service to include Text with 911 for people who are hard of hearing, deaf or speech impaired,” said Dr. Marilyn O. Dahl, President of the CHHA-BC. “This will have a powerful and potentially life-saving impact on the safety of the DHHSI community within the FVRD.”

Before using text with 911, or T911, eligible residents must register with their cellphone service provider. When a 911 call-taker receives a call from a DHHSI person who has pre-registered for the service, an alert will trigger at the 911 centre to indicate there is a DHHSI caller on the line. The 911 call-taker will then launch the special messaging system, allowing them to communicate with the caller via text, enabling them to get the emergency service they need.

“The T911 service is one way we can improve inclusivity for DHHSI residents and their families,” said FVRD Board Chair Jason Lum. “We are glad that our emergency service agencies and E-Comm are able to provide this service to our communities, bringing the best technology has to offer to ensure equal access.”

Text with 911 is only available for the DHHSI community.

Tips for T9-1-1 users:

– You must register for the service. Contact your cellphone service provider to ensure your device meets the T9-1-1 requirements.

– Your cellphone service provider will confirm your T9-1-1 registration. Do not call T9-1-1 to test the service.

– Text messages should be brief and concise and avoid slang and abbreviations.

– Text messages sent directly to the digits “911” do not reach emergency services. Registered users simply dial 911 and then E-Comm will initiate a text session with the caller.