Creating Accessible 9-1-1 Systems
Posted on August 26, 2011 by Thomas Green
On Wednesday August 17, 2011, the Missouri House of Representatives’ Interim Committee on 9-1-1 Accessibility had a public hearing. I was able to testify in favor of accessible 9-1-1 system for all people. The people before me testified mainly about the infrastructure of 911 system, comparing the difference between basic 911, enhanced 911, Phase 1 911, Phase 2 and IP-Compatible 911 PSAPs. They also talked about revenue: surcharge, sales taxes, tariff tax. They were recommending imposing tariff taxes on wireless plan.
When it was my turn to testify, I talked about the Federal Communication Commission (FCC)’s Emergency Access Advisory Committee’s (EAAC) survey results from July 21, 2011. The EAAC’s result shows that almost 50% of the people responded to the survey prefers ability to text 9-1-1 when need to call 9-1-1. There were some other numbers, including sending videos to 9-1-1 centers. I also briefly discussed potential funding options.
One of the representatives asked why they should consider videophone as part of the accessibility to 911 because it seems to limit to only deaf and hard of hearing. I explained that in a high stress situation, most deaf people would prefer to speak in their native language without having to deal with English. VP will allow deaf people to sign to the 911 call center in their native language. Also mentioned that there are interpreters who can sign different languages, and/or speak different languages that would allow deaf people who don’t use ASL or speak English to be able to communicate with 911 agent.
Overall, the committee members appreciated the new perspective on accessible 911 systems. They felt the testimony was informative and provided them with knowledge they previously did not have. It is important that the deaf community continue to educate our legislators and advocate for accessible 911 systems.
Read more of the testimony submitted to the Missouri House Interim Committee on 9-1-1 Accessibility.