People who are deaf or speech/hearing-impaired should have access to a TTY/TDD (Teletype/Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) in their home. Communications centers that answer 9-1-1 calls have special text telephones for responding to calls from these systems and go through regular training and testing to ensure proficiency in handling these types of calls. If someone needs to use a TTY/TDD to call 9-1-1, he/she should:
- Place the phone receiver in the TTY/TDD and dial 9-1-1.
- After the call is answered, press the TTY keys several times to notify the call-taker that the call is being transmitted with this system – this may help shorten the response time to the call. (Please note that this is not required. Operators are trained to check for TTY/TDD if they answer a call with an open line.)
- When the call-taker is connected to his/her TTY, he/she will respond/type “GA” for “Go Ahead.”
Type what type of emergency service is needed – police, fire or ambulance – as well as your name, phone number and the address where the help is needed.
If a deaf or speech/hearing impaired person doesn’t have a TTY/TDD, he/she should call 9-1-1 and simply leave the line open. With most calls, the caller’s address is displayed on the call-taker’s screen and the help will be sent.