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Canadian Networks Ready to Support Text Messaging Based Emergency Calls

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Canada's mobile networks have announced their readiness to support text messaging for summoning emergency help the Text with 9 1 1 (T9 1 1) service.

The mobile networks have completed all of the required network upgrades, but are now waiting for the 911 call centres to also complete their technology upgrades as well.

The service is expected to be implemented by 9-1-1 call centres in different municipalities or regions at different time periods over the next several years.

The facility enabled emergency services call centres to converse with a deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech impaired person during an emergency, using text messaging. When a DHHSI person requires 9-1-1 services, they dial 9-1-1 on their cell phone. There is no need for a caller to speak or hear, as the 9-1-1 call taker will normally receive an indicator from registered users that tells them to communicate with the caller via text messaging.

The 911 call taker then initiates text messaging with the caller to address the emergency.

"Extending 9-1-1 services through text messaging is an important step in the evolution of using technology to keep all Canadians safe," said CWTA President & CEO Bernard Lord. "Canada's wireless industry looks forward to working with the public safety community in rolling out this critical service across the country."

The unique Canadian solution was developed by members from Emergency Services, telecommunications service providers, vendors and other stakeholders, including CWTA. The SMS based service was trialed with volunteers from the DHHSI community in the spring and summer of 2012 in Vancouver, Toronto, Peel Region and Montreal.

The service will only be available to those in the DHHSI community who register their cell phones for the service through their wireless carrier, although it may be expanded as an option for all users at a later date.

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Tags: cwta  Canada