For the first time, a new service has been launched that allows users to make 999 calls using British Sign Language (BSL).
999 BSL, a new service that connects callers with a BSL translator, will allow deaf individuals to make emergency calls via an app or website.
It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free to use.
Last June, Ofcom declared that telephone and broadband firms would be required to provide the service, estimating that it would save two lives each year.
The system, which went live on Friday, is the first time a 999 emergency service has been accessible in British Sign Language, while the NHS 111 line has a similar approach.
The service will connect users to a BSL interpreter, who will then convey the dialogue to a 999 operator.
There is currently an SMS service for 999, but customers must register before using it.
Callers may utilize the new sign language-based service without having to register as long as the app or webpage is open.
To contact 999 BSL, users must first open the app or go to the website, then hit the red button to be connected to an interpreter.
Several charities and organizations have advocated for the service.
“This is a milestone for deaf people that will save lives and signifies one more step forward towards equality,” said Abigail Gorman, public relations and policy manager at SignHealth, a deaf health organization.
“We won’t be happy until deaf people have complete and equal access to all services, including life-saving medical care.”
The service is crucial for everyone, not only the deaf population, according to James Watson-O’Neill, CEO of SignHealth.
“Deaf individuals may now immediately contact emergency services and aid anyone who needs assistance.” “This is a significant step forward in terms of access, and it’s a time to rejoice about,” he added.