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Police push 111 emergency text service

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Police is encouraging deaf and hearing impaired people to register for a 111 texting service that could save their lives in an emergency.

Police was the lead agency in the development of 111 TXT, which began in October 2010 and presently has 1149 registered users.

Police business analyst Clinton Sommers says there are around 9000 profoundly deaf people in New Zealand and as many as 220,000 who have some hearing impairment, and Police would like to see more signing up for the service.

Henderson Community Constable Debi Leahy, who is fluent in New Zealand Sign Language and who works closely with the deaf community, knows of several cases where the service has allowed the hearing impaired to access emergency services.

"There was one incident where a person had a heart attack and their friend was registered with the text service and able to contact 111. As well as getting an ambulance dispatched, he was sent a text with instructions on how to do CPR and he was able to keep his friend alive till help arrived."

On another occasion, a man who was stuck in an elevator and unable to use its phone was able to text for help. There were numerous other cases where people had been able to send texts reporting drunk drivers and other crimes.

Constable Leahy says the service is giving the deaf and hearing impaired a voice, and she would like to see more of them signing up.

Register for 111 TXT  (external website)