Written by Jasun Hicks

Less a month ago, United States of America just released 911-to-Text service for everyone. It is recommended for those that can’t be accessible to voice 911 services due to stressful situations such as robberies or didn’t want to speak during the 911 call. They can use 911-to-text service to alert the call center for assist. U.S. did not emphasize that the 911-to-text was for our community only. It can be for everyone but doesn’t encourage abuse of the system just because people don’t want to speak. They recommended that people would need to use the voice call option first if situation allows, if not then 911-to-text would be an alternative option. However, the 911-to-text service happens to be accessible for our community and it is necessary for us to use the service. It’s win-win for everyone. The service was just released less than a month ago and is only available in few states. Hopefully by next year, it will grow and be available for our community’s needs and more accessible.

The good news is that in Nova Scotia, 911 text services will start on New Year of 2015. Everyone will be able to start using it. Keep in mind, it needs to be following the same standards as Americans had set for their consumers. Use it wisely. According to CRTC will conduct a study and it’ll affect the future of Canadian between 2014-2015 to ensure it is going well and effective for everyone safety and faster response by call center for assist in emergency.

The difference between the American system and the system being established in Nova Scotia, their system is not for those people who don’t know how to use sign language. It is specifically for members of our community only. “I was driving on the highway and saw a car off the road…I want to call into 911. I want to describe what has happened. I want to provide assistance. Right now there’s very little I can do,” Jim McDermott said through his interpreter Sarah Lewis.

However, there is a small glitch – if you try the service you might as well expect a response “You will need to call directly”. CRTC is working on working with all wireless phone companies to adjust to this major change by upgrading their network to support 911 texting capabilities to become accessibility for us but still has to be done by local level, not on national level.

“The 911 call taker will receive a pop-up letting them know this is a preregistered phone. At that point the 911 call taker will begin a text communication with the caller,” Paul Mason explained, the director of emergency services at EMO in Nova Scotia. He said individuals will have to ensure their cell phone is compatible and will need to preregister for the service.

The technology has been around long enough, it might be a delay to you but now at least the progress is being made.