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Emergency Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 10 May 2012

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Ceisteanna (110)

Arthur Spring

Ceist:

109 Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans to introduce a text message system enabling persons with a disability, that is, deaf or speech impaired to contact emergency services in case of an emergency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23595/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources)

A short message service (SMS) system was launched by my Department on the 13th January 2012 which allows those with speech and hearing difficulties to communicate with the Emergency services using normal mobile phones and by sending their text messages to the shortcode 112, the harmonised EU number for access to the emergency services.

The implementation of the new network involved the upgrade of the emergency call answering service, modification to the mobile phone networks and a change in the operational procedures used by the emergency services. The new service complements the existing relay system which allows fixed line callers to the emergency services to communicate using dedicated terminals lines that allow users to type their messages.

The new SMS service is being trialled until the end of June 2012. The purpose of the trial is to test the technology used and to learn from the user experience.

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