An enhancement to FDM Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) now allows hearing or speech impaired persons to call 911 in an emergency and communicate by text message. The FDM enhancement enables a visual alert for emergency dispatchers indicating a call is coming from a hearing or speech impaired person. The alert signifies to the call-taker that the communication needs to continue via text.
The feature is the latest in a series of changes to emergency response required to improve the safety of hearing or speech impaired Canadians.
Text to 911 service, also known as T9-1-1, is controlled by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Since Jan 2014, the CRTC requires that telecommunications and wireless companies across Canada support the new T9-1-1 feature. Public safety answering points (PSAPs) are in the process of implementing the service, which in some cases may require changes to the telephony system.
Canadians with hearing difficulties are required to register with their wireless service providers to obtain the right to text an emergency to 911.
Changes Improve Safety
Prior to these changes to enable T9-1-1 service, calls from deaf or speech impaired individuals were indistinguishable from accidental “pocket-dial” calls to 911: that is, no one would appear to be on the other end of the call. While dispatchers must call back every such call to determine if emergency services are needed, if the call was from a deaf or speech impaired person in a genuine emergency, delay and frustration were added to an already critical situation.
“Improvements for deaf and speech impaired persons in an emergency have been a long time in coming. The flexibility of FDM’s CAD has made it possible for us to quickly implement changes to support the new Text to 911 service,” said Ed Colin, president of FDM Software. “We are very pleased that we were able to roll out the new enhancements quickly and enable our CAD agencies to comply and offer the new service. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to play a part in keeping Canadians safe – and we are proud to be a part of this initiative.”Media contact: