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Show 24 __ Equal Access to 911 for Persons with Disabilities: Proposed Regulations

Right now, most 911 call centers are not equipped to accept emergency calls from text or video calls that many people with disabilities use to communicate. A new system called Next Generation 911 (NG911) will allow people to contact 911 through text or video calls. As a result, the Department of Justice is looking at revising the ADA regulations to ensure call centers are accessible. They're asking for comments from the public on this issue.

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Today we're going to talk about "Equal Access to 911 for Persons with Disabilities: Proposed Regulations".

The Americans with Disabilities Act talks about telecommunication and effective communication, but so much has changed since it passed 20 years ago. There are many new ways to communicate with technology, such as texting on cell phones or video relay on the computer. But many 911 centers do not have the equipment to accept emergency calls from text message or the Internet.

There is a new system called Next Generation 911 (NG911). With NG911, you can make 911 emergency calls and communicate directly with emergency operators with voice, text or Internet video. Because of this new system, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking at whether the ADA rules about communication need to be changed. They want to make sure the call centers will be able to directly receive various kinds of text and video calls from people with disabilities.

Right now, the DOJ wants to get feedback and comments from the public, people like you, about this change to the ADA rules. There are two main questions.

The first question is, what devices (such as cell phones and the Internet) and methods of communication (such as text or video) are people with disabilities using for emergency calls?

The second question is, how should DOJ make sure that any new system used by the 911 call centers can receive directs calls from these devices?

The Department of Justice also wants your opinions and comments from on some other changes they are thinking about, such as: Text options, such as real-time text, SMS, instant messaging, and email; Video communications, such as direct video-to-video calls between a person with a disability and the 911 center; Video interpreters; Technical issues; Emergency alerts.

These are just some of the questions they are asking to get your ideas and feedback. You can read more and learn how to comment at www.regulations.gov. You can also search for DOJ-CRT-2010-0007 to help you find it. You can also find out more at www.ada.gov. For more information or to orders copies of any documents, call the ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY).

Please give your opinions and comments. Also, tell your family, your friends, the Deaf Community, spread the word about this opportunity to give comments or communicate your ideas. The DOJ wants to establish new regulations using you comments and feedback so the changes will help you, us, the Deaf Community. So please help spread the word. The DOJ really wants to know your thoughts. Thank you.

I hope you enjoyed watching this ASL video podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. You can subscribe for free through iTunes or by going to ASL.DisabilityLawLowdown.com

The Disability Law Lowdown is sponsored by the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTAC) a network of ten ADA Centers around the country. The ADA Centers provide training and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability laws.

If you have questions or would like more information, you can call them at 1-800-949-4232 (V/TTY).

The ADA Centers are supported by a grant from NIDRR.

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