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Wireless Text-Messaging Service Revolutionizes Emergency Response for the Impaired

May 01, 2008

A new emergency service is allowing deaf and speech-impaired residents of southeastern England to contact emergency providers through a cell phone text message, the product’s developer announced today.

The new service from Esendex, a Nottingham-based business communications company, can connect impaired County Kent residents to police, firefighters and paramedics without cost-prohibitive specialist equipment.
Mick Shipway, systems manager for Kent police, said the area’s deaf and speech-impaired community is already praising the system.
It’s not a tool that people particularly want to use, but in the event that they need to contact the police, fire brigade, or ambulance, we know that they can do so with ease on a reliable and fast platform,” Shipway said.
Esendex officials say their system is the first of its kind.
Here’s how it works: A 60066 text message is sent via the Esendex system. The relevant key word, ‘POLICE,’ ‘RESCUE’ or ‘MEDIC’ sends the text message straight to the relevant emergency service. The sender receives a message confirming help is on the way or asking for more information, such as location.
Designers chose text-messaging because it’s become so popular that deaf and speech-impaired residents use it more than any other communications method when they’re outside of home, Esendex said.
The initiative is a joint venture between Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue, South East Coastal Ambulance Service and Kent County Council, Esendex said.
Shipway said the company saw through the emergency service’s implementation.
“We were able to internally train our 500 operators quickly and if we had any queries, we had a single point of contact at Esendex who could answer us instantly,” he said.
Known as “The Garden of England,” Kent is a major tourist attraction that includes the city of Canterbury and cliffs of Dover, as well as the sites of several important conflicts during the Battle of Britain and World War II.
Michael Dinan is a TMCNet Editor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.