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Parliament: Emergency SMS Trial, 2008

The ability to use SMS to contact emergency services in the UK is thin on the ground, and depends on area provision. If you travel to another area, you might need to source another number or perhaps you cannot register with other local services. Yesterday an answer was published in parliament over any government plans over a national scheme:

Simon Burns (West Chelmsford, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will introduce a nationwide scheme to enable deaf people to send text messages to the emergency telephone number 999.

The Home Office answered:

Tony McNulty (Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office)

holding answer 18 December 2007

The telecommunications service providers, in discussion with the emergency services, have identified technical solutions for providing an emergency SMS for the deaf, and those with hearing or speech impairment. The mobile service providers are currently scoping a trial which will assess the technical feasibility of providing a service to mobile handsets which have been registered for the service.

The service will provide an alternative option for those who routinely use SMS and either do not use a text relay service or may be in circumstances where it is not available. It is anticipated that the trial will be conducted in the second half of 2008.

Ask the readers: do you use a text relay service these days? Do you even own a minicom? Could you safely say that you could rely on a relay service to respond in an emergency situation?

Sources:
They Work For You
Hansard

See also:
Parliament: 999 sms?

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