SMS services for the deaf and speech impaired – are you compliant with legislation?

Topic: Esendex news
There’s a lot of forces at work which are driving SMS usage, and government legislation is one of them. Nine million people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing. That works out at one in seven people, a pretty huge figure.
The Disability Discrimination Act and the Disability Equality Duty has meant public sector bodies need to look at new communication methods with the deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired. Under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), organisations are required to make a ‘reasonable adjustment’ in the way that they deliver information to the public to make it accessible to everyone. 
We’re working with an increasing number of public sector organisations to provide SMS services for the deaf and speech impaired – here’s just a few examples:
Kent Police use Esendex to deliver their life-saving emergency SMS services to the deaf and speech impaired. People can text the word ‘police’, ‘medic’ or ‘rescue’ depending on which service they need, followed by the rest of their message. The text will then be channelled to the relevant organisation and dealt with immediately. Here’s some more detail on our SMS service on the BBC website.
Devon Fire and Rescue use the Esendex SMS service to provide public services information to the deaf community.
Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire, sums it up very well when she comments that using SMS in delivering emergency services will:

“Empower deaf and seech impaired people to gain quick and easy access to emergency services where and when they need to”.

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Ann