Specialized 9-1-1 Text Service for Deaf and Speech Impaired Now Available

A specialized text service that allows people who are Deaf/Deaf-Blind, Hard-of-Hearing or Speech Impaired (DHHSI) to communicate with 9-1-1 call-takers by text is now available in the Regional District of Central Kootenay.  This service, called Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1), is being delivered by E-Comm—the emergency communications centre responsible for answering 9-1-1 calls in the central and southern interiors—in partnership with local emergency service agencies.

The service is also available in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, Columbia-Shuswap, Okanagan-Similkameen, Thompson-Nicola, East Kootenay, Kootenay-Boundary and Squamish-Lillooet regional districts. 

“We are excited that the RDCK is able to provide the T9-1-1 service,” said Andrew Bellerby, the RDCK’s Regional Fire Chief. “This is another way that the RDCK is able to make emergency services more accessible to our communities.”

T9-1-1 allows any DHHSI person who has pre-registered their cellphone with their wireless carrier to communicate with police, fire and ambulance call-takers via text during an emergency. Callers must first place a voice call to 9-1-1 in order to establish a voice network connection and initiate the special messaging technology.   

When E-Comm receives a 9-1-1 call from a DHHSI person who has pre-registered for the service, an alert will trigger at the 9-1-1 centre to indicate there is a DHHSI caller on the line. The 9-1-1 call-taker will then launch the special messaging system, allowing them to communicate with the caller through a special text session. This will ensure they get the emergency service they need.

The Text with 9-1-1 service is only available to the DHHSI community. Voice calling remains the only way to communicate with 9-1-1 services for a person who is not Deaf/Deaf-Blind, Hard-of-Hearing or Speech Impaired. Text messages sent directly to the digits “9-1-1” do not reach emergency services anywhere in Canada. Text with 9-1-1 for the public-at-large is anticipated in the future as the nationwide 9-1-1 infrastructure evolves.

Members of the DHHSI community should visit www.TextWith911.ca to register their cellphone with their wireless service provider and to learn more about how the system works.

More information about the Text with 9-1-1 service can also be found at the E-Comm 9-1-1 website at: https://ecomm911.ca/contacting-911/T911system.php


For further information, please contact:

Andrew Bellerby
General Manager of Fire and Emergency Services/Regional Fire Chief

E-Comm 9-1-1
Jasmine Bradley



The content on this page was last updated September 21 2016 at 1:12 PM