Fort Saskatchewan's 9-1-1 service will be on the cutting edge of emergency communication.
On August 1, text with 9-1-1 will be available in the city for the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired from their mobile phones in an emergency.
Residents who previously used Teletype Terminal (TTY) and Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) technology on landlines for emergency calls can now use a mobile device to communicate with a 9-1-1 dispatcher, as long as the mobile device is registered with the respective wireless service provider.
"It would be very difficult to interact with these people and try to get the information as quickly as they can to make sure the dispatcher can send the proper resources out," explained fire chief Shawn McKerry. "Now it allows a lot quicker interaction so that they can get better answers quicker from them."
A phone call is required to initiate the 9-1-1 call; when it's acknowledged by the dispatcher that the mobile device has been registered, the emergency call will switch to text based.
"The next innovation we will be seeing in 9-1-1 technology will open it up to the general public being able to text 9-1-1," said McKerry.
To initiate the service, eligible residents must register their phone with their wireless service provider before using text to 9-1-1. Calls from unregistered phones won't be able to use the service.