Sacramento – Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin has introduced AB 1168 requiring emergency dispatch/call centers statewide to implement text to 9-1-1 services so the deaf and hard of hearing have equal access to emergency services.
“As someone who is hard of hearing, I believe it is critical that we expand the ways people access 9-1-1 in an emergency,” said Speaker pro Tem Mullin. “California companies are creating cutting edge technology on a daily basis and I believe we have the capability to launch Text to 9-1-1 statewide by 2021.”
Currently San Mateo, Sacramento, and Los Angeles are some of the counties that have already implemented this technology and AB 1168 would require the service to be implemented consistently throughout California. Current services such as TTY, make it possible for the deaf and hard of hearing to make phone calls, but the system would likely be overwhelmed with a high volume of calls during a widespread emergency.
“More and more, the average person is moving away from having a landline and instead is using a cell phone almost exclusively,” Mullin pointed out. “It only makes sense that we find a way to accommodate something like Text to 9-1-1 into our emergency response protocols statewide.”