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5 ways for deaf and hard of hearing people to contact emergency services in West Yorkshire

Deaf Awareness Week 2022 is taking place from 2nd – 8th May and is all about deaf inclusion. The campaign aims to raise awareness and highlight issues faced by the community in day-to-day life as well as to increase visibility and inclusion for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

West Yorkshire police have got involved with the campaign by highlighting their British Sign Language advice and guidance videos on their Twitter page. They have also shared the support they offer deaf and hard of hearing people within the community when needing to contact the emergency services.

In an emergency:

1. EmergencySMS

EmergencySMS allows those in the UK who are deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired to send SMS texts, instead of voice calling, to 999 UK which will be passed on to the police. This service has successfully handled hundreds of calls since 2009 and helped many people within West Yorkshire in emergency situations.

In an emergency text to 999 you should include what emergency service you need, what the problem is, and where the problem is taking place. Find out more information here.

To use this service you need to register beforehand, which you can do by texting ‘register’ to 999. Once you have sent this text you should get a reply with instructions on how to continue your registration.

2. Textphone

Textphone helps those with hearing loss or speech impairments to contact emergency services by linking your number up and setting communications preferences to make the app suit the needs of the user. Relay assistances are there to help support the conversation and pass on what you would like to say to the person you have called.

To contact 999 using this method, you need to dial 18000 instead of 18001. Read more about the process here.

Registering is simple! Text ‘register’ to 999 and follow the instructions sent back to you to get sorted.

3. Relay UK App

Relay UK is another way to contact emergency services with extra support. Using the relay app, press on the 999 button and confirm. After you join in the app window you will connect to a relay assistant who will support you throughout the call as well as connecting to 999.

In a non-emergency:

1. 101 Live Chat system

101 Live Chat system will connect you to West Yorkshire Police Management Centre for non-emergency situations. It should not be used for any emergency situations. The service is only available when members of the team are available for a chat session. If the system is offline, you can also report non-emergency situations using West Yorkshire Police’s online reporting forms.

2. Typetalk on 1800 101

This service is an alternative method for those with hearing or speech impairments to contact the police during non-emergency situations. Situations where you should use Typetalk to contact 999 can include if a crime has already happened, something has been stolen from you, or you feel as if you are being bullied or harassed.

What do you think?