Editor: If you’re a TTY user and you’ve looked into how to get Reverse 911 calls in the event of an emergency, you probably know that you have to pre-register as a TTY user in order to be notified. Well, it turns out that you’d be wrong! A company has just announced a service that eliminates the pre-registration requirement!
A Breakthrough in Rapid Emergency Alerts for the Hearing Impaired
“TDD/TTY Tests Are Significant” says L.A. Department of Disability’s Richard Ray.
A series of tests by Twenty First Century Communications (TFCC) has confirmed that they are the first and only major hosted (Software as a service, or SaaS) notification vendor to provide true TDD/TTY delivery of emergency notification and messages without pre-registration.
Twenty First Century’s Universal Communications System is unique in that it can both detect TTY machines and deliver TTY messages, without the need of a relay operator.
This quantum leap in safety and security enables hearing impaired populations – people who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability – to be treated equally and to receive alerts at the same time as the general public. This is critical in the event of public safety threats like wildfires, when residents have only 15 minutes to evacuate their homes.
TFCC engineers worked with Richard Ray, Deaf Services Coordinator of the Los Angeles Department on Disability, Disability Access and Services, and Donna Platt of the Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center. Twenty First Century modified its software and procedures behind its Universal Communications System (UCS), which has succeeded in reaching out to landline TTY users.
Richard Ray stated “I applaud TFCC for the effort in making mass notification systems to enable municipalities to initiate outbound emergency calls to a designated group of landline telephone subscribers including TTY users, instantly alerting those in a pre-determined geographical area of a hazardous situation.”
“These tests are significant because they ensure that TFCC systems, such as AlertSanDiego, are functioning properly to deliver warning messages to landline TTY users in order to help save lives. Everyone, both TTY users and voice users, can receive messages at the same time. Thus, it reduces time delay for emergency responders in sending out messages to specific populations.”
About Americans with Disabilities
To learn more about needs of the hearing impaired populations, visit the Americans with Disabilities Act Information and Technical Assistance website at www.ada.gov or the Disability Preparedness Resource Center at www.disabilitypreparedness.gov.