Emergency SMS 999

16 09 2009

I’ve always felt hard done by when thinking about my safety. Being unable to hear on the phone, I would hate to be put in a position where I needed to call the police quickly if I was being mugged or burgled, or the ambulance service if there was an accident, or the fire service if I had a fire at home. I would always need to rely upon a hearing person to make that call. Assuming I could find someone quickly wherever and whenever that may be. Assuming they would be willing to make the call – what if they didn’t understand me or it was 3am?

But there’s hope. A new service is being trialled in the UK. You can now send a text message to the emergency services using 999 rather than a long number you can’t remember, or trying to call via Typetalk / Text Direct / Text Relay / Whatever It’s Called. This is fabulous news for people who can’t use the phone. You need to register your mobile phone with the service, which is very simple and takes 2 minutes.

Further details here: Emergency SMS

The RNID are running a survey on access to emergency services with the aim of improving access. More information after the jump.

New emergency text services

5 05 2008

A new emergency text service has been launched by police in Sussex. You can read about it here. To call an emergency service, send a text to 65999, starting with the word POLICE, FIRE, AMBULANCE, or COASTGUARD.

A similar service has started in Kent, send a text beginning with POLICE, MEDIC or RESCUE to 60066.

Bus passengers in Brighton and Hove can send a text if there are problems on the bus such as rowdiness. Text REPORT to 60060 and give a description of the incident, and your message will be passed on to the police.

It’s a shame the numbers are all different, unlike the national 999 number or 911 in the US. A national number would make more sense, wouldn’t it?

Bus trouble

22 01 2008

I saw an article in the London Metro today, talking about a new emergency text service in London which could go live soon. How many times have you seen violence on London transport? I’ve not personally seen any but I know of two people who have been attacked recently.
One was a friend of a friend. She was sitting on the train one evening, and a beggar came walking down the aisle asking everybody for change. He asked her for change and she said sorry but she didn’t have any on her. What he did next shocked me. He punched her in the face and broke her nose. Then he sauntered off. She sat there with blood pouring down her face and not one passenger offered to assist her.
I have a friend called David who’s deaf. One evening he was taking the train home from work and at London Bridge, some yobs got on and proceeded to tear the black rubber lining strip from the windows. David got up and shouted at them to leave the windows alone. The yobs set upon him and left him with fractures and a black eye. The police were called, another passenger offered his testimony, but they still haven’t been caught. Luckily, David is ok.

This new emergency text service means bus passengers will be able to discreetly raise an alarm by sending a code as a text message to a dedicated police number, this code being shown on posters around the bus. Each bus will have it’s own code letters so police will know which bus to target.

This is all very fine and dandy for hearing people, luckily it’s handy for deaf people too. I’d like to see this on all public transport.

Petition – legislation to include deaf people in general fire and emergency regulations

17 07 2007

Click on the LINK to sign the petition to create legislation by statute to include deaf people in the general regulations concerning the fire and emergency alarm systems in all public, commercial and industrial buildings in Britain.

Closing date is 3 April 2008