DeafHear Regional News
The 112 SMS Service is a potentially life–saving service for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
The 112 Text Service allows people who cannot make voice calls to contact the emergency services via text messaging from a mobile phone. The Emergency Text Service was introduced in 2012, and we recently contacted ComReg who regulate telecommunications in Ireland and BT who operate the 112 SMS service for an update on how the service is operating.
The service was introduced after many years of campaigning by organisations working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. The service gives vital piece of mind to many people… perhaps an elderly person with an acquired hearing loss living alone… or a Deaf parent with young children. These people now have the comfort of knowing that they can independently contact the emergency services day or night should an emergency arise.
Number of Registrations and Texts
ComReg have reported to us that during 2014 and 2015 over 1200 people registered for the 112 SMS Service. That’s an average of two new people registering for the service every day.
The average number of text contacts to the emergency services is just over one per day. So the 112 SMS service is potentially helping to save lives on a daily basis. This demonstrates the importance of the service and justifies the campaign efforts of the organisations representing Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to have the service established.
What are the Emergency Services?
The principal emergency services are the “blue light” services that respond to normal emergencies in Ireland.
These are An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service, the Fire Service and the Irish Coast Guard.
These principal emergency services would be the ‘first responders’ in most emergency situations.
If you are a Deaf or Hard of Hearing person and you cannot make voice calls… you should consider registering for the service immediately. You never know when you may need it!
Some Important things to remember!
Register for the service: Before you can use the 112 SMS service, you will need to register your mobile phone. (The service is not available for landlines).
You can find out more about how to register your mobile phone here: www.112.ie
Technology cannot guarantee immediate text delivery: BT, the 112 SMS operator point out that immediate delivery of an SMS cannot be guaranteed. They say ‘Do not assume that your message has been received until you get a message back from the emergency service. An SMS ‘Delivery Report’ does not mean your message has been received.’
A person should keep texting 112 in an emergency until they receive a reply from the operator. At the end of each text session with the 112 SMS service the person will receive a standard message ‘Your session with the Emergency Operator has ended’.
Need assistance to register?
If you need any assistance to register for 112 SMS Service, you can get more information on the service here: www.112.ie , or contact your local DeafHear Resource Centre for further information. (View Here.)