Emergency Services

If you are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired, contacting the emergency services is not as easy as dialling 999.

There is a service called emergencySMS which helps overcome this.

The emergencySMS service lets deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people in the UK send an SMS text message to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the police, ambulance, fire rescue, or coastguard.

Simply by sending an SMS message to 999 you can call for help and the emergency services will be able to reply to you.

You will need to register your mobile phone before using the emergencySMS service, click here to Register your phone and for more information.

Click here to download the emergencySMS leaflet.

REMEMBER: This is an emergency service and must only be used in an emergency as below.

When…

  • Life is at risk;
  • Crime/trouble is happening now;
  • Someone is injured or threatened;
  • Person committing crime is near;
  • There is a fire or people trapped;
  • You need an ambulance urgently;
  • Someone is in trouble, or missing, at sea,
  • Someone is in trouble on the cliffs or on the shoreline

For more information of the emergency services and contacting them, click on the links below:

 

Advice on how to access the ambulance service for Deaf and hard of hearing people

If you have access to a phone and are able to hear a little call 999 and say “AMBULANCE”

If you are calling from a landline then that should initiate your address but important things to tell the operator are as follows:

  • Address of the incident
  • Details of the person needing the ambulance
  • If you are using a minicom this is the information you should send to the emergency services.
  • If you are unable to use a phone but have a mobile phone you should register your phone to allow you to send SMS to 999.

You will need to register your phone to access this service.

Visit http://www.emergencysms.org.uk/ to register your phone.

Please contact Action for Deafness for more details of equipment that you should have installed to ensure your safety in your home.

Working with Action for Deafness West Sussex Fire and Rescue have put together the below advice for the Deaf and hard of hearing

In case of fire:

If you have access to a phone and are able to hear a little call 999 and say “Fire”

If you are calling from a landline then that should initiate your address but important things to tell the operator are as follows:

Address of the incident

  • If you are in the building where the fire is
  • If you are stuck in the building where the fire is
  • Whereabouts in the building you are
  • If you are using a minicom this is the information you should send to the emergency services.
  • If you are unable to use a phone but have a mobile phone you should make sure you always take your mobile phone up to the bedroom when you go to bed at night. You would then be able to send an SMS to 999.

You will need to register your phone to access this service. Visit http://www.emergencysms.org.uk/ to register your phone.

Please contact Action for Deafness for more details of equipment that you should have installed to ensure your safety in the event of a fire. 

Sussex Police are part of the Pegasus scheme which is an accessible way for people who struggle to hear or speak over the phone to contact the police. This scheme allows the police to keep your details when you register with Pegasus and your details are saved into a secure database owned by Sussex Police. You are then issued with a personal identification number (PIN) that you can use when calling the police. If you need to call the police, you tell them your PIN and they can access your details right away. You will also be given a Pegasus card which you can show to a police officer, member of police staff or other emergency services staff should you require assistance in person

Full details of the Pegasus Scheme can be found here

The police also have an emergency SMS number: 65999

When you send a text to the 65999 number you should:

  • Say whether the emergency service required is 'police', 'fire', 'ambulance' or 'coastguard' by typing the relevant word.
  • Type details of the nature of the emergency.
  • Type the exact location of the emergency.
  • Send the message to 65999.

The SMS is sent to Sussex Police Control and they then reply to confirm the message has been received. 

Roadside Telephone Assistance for Text Users

The Highways Agency have launched an emergency roadside telephone of particular benefit to Deaf and hard of hearing users. The ERT features an innovative text facility for non-verbal communication.

The new emergency roadside telephone (ERT) is a high-visibility unit, which may be configured to meet different installation requirements. Unlike its predecessor, the Type 354 also offers a range of innovative features that greatly improve the clarity and functionality for both the user at the roadside, and for the operator monitoring calls in the dedicated Control Office.

This new ERT utilises a sophisticated Noise-Cancelling system to give improved audio performance both for the road user and the Control Office operator. Furthermore, the innovative use of non-voice communications enables the ERT to be used by people who have difficulty communicating in spoken English (e.g. the hard of hearing of non-English speaking.)

The ERT has many innovative features including:

  • Display for user prompting, volume control and non-voice communication;
  • Stylish ergonomic design;
  • Patented safety design meeting latest European Standards, BS EN 12767;
  • Environmentally friendly with solar cells and very low power consumption;
  • Low maintenance costs and increased reliability.

If you are a Deaf BSL used you can contact NHS 111 service through InterpreterNow service. InterpreterNow enables Deaf BSL users to have access to an online interpreting service which can be used face-to-face or over the phone.
InterpreterNow works through an app which can be used on Apple and Android devices, or alternatively you can make a call through a PC or Mac through the InterpreterNow website. The caller will be connected to a BSL interpreter via video calling. The interpreter will then phone the service or individual needed and relay the conversation in real time. If interpreting is needed face-to-face rather than over the phone, InterpreterNow can be used as a remote interpreter using a video call.
To use the video relay service, the organisation or the individual being called must be signed up to InterpreterNow service. Organisations that currently use InterpreterNow include: NHS 111, Stop Hate UK and NHS Customer Contact Centre. A good internet connection is also needed to make video calls. Mobile data is required if the connection is not made through Wi-Fi or broadband. There is no cost involved apart from the mobile
data usage for the video call. For full information on InterpreterNow service, visit interpreternow.co.uk

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