A national trial is set to take place this Autumn to enable deaf people to send text messages to contact the emergency services. The system, which if successful could be up and running in 2010, will allow people to send a text to 999 in order to contact the police, ambulance and fire services.
In other areas of the country a similar text service is currently in operation. In the South West and Hampshire users can send texts to 80999 which are received in the police control room. A controller then calls for assistance from any of the emergency services.
Deaf people in London can currently use a textphone to contact the Metropolotan police via BT Typetalk. The service allows people to type a message to an operator who the voice call to the emergency services. Unfortunately anyone without a textphone would struggle to use a vital service.
The new system will allow hard of hearing people to send a text to 999 to contact the emergency services.