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OPP introduces 911 emergency texts for people with disabilities

By Bevan Hamilton [1]

BELLEVILLE – The OPP will now accept texts as emergency calls from people unable to telephone because they are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired.

The service, called Text with 911, began on Wednesday, and it is only available in areas where the OPP is the primary police force offering emergency service.

“The OPP is committed to increasing accessibility for persons with disabilities and has made extensive network upgrades to be able to offer Text with 9-1-1 service in the communities we serve,” said Commissioner J.V.N. Hawkes in a news release.

Users of the service must register it with their phone carriers in advance. To use the service, you dial 911 as if calling, then talk to the 911 operator via text message.

The texting service is not intended for the general public, the OPP said.

More information can be found on the OPP website [2].

While not every community served by the OPP provides the text 911 option now, the list is expected to grow. In this region, there are several OPP detachments in the Kingston and Peterborough areas that have it, but the Quinte area is not yet on the list.

A full list of the 340 communities in Ontario that provide the service can be seen here [3].