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911 Enable and Snap!VRS Partner to Allow 911 Emergency Video Calls for Deaf
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911 Enable and Snap!VRS Partner to Allow 911 Emergency Video Calls for Deaf

August 08, 2008
By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor

911 Enable (News - Alert) has said it is set to provide E911 call routing services for Snap!VRS, the video relay service provider that distributes the Ojo video phone.

As a result of this installation, 911 emergency video calls can now be placed using Snap!VRS by individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired.

“By working with Snap!VRS, 911 Enable is helping to make emergency calling even more accessible,” said Lev Deich, director of 911 Enable, in a Friday statement.

“Together we are making it easier for anyone to connect to 911 in a time of crisis, no matter how they communicate.”

When a Snap!VRS customer places an emergency video call, they are immediately connected with a Snap!VRS interpreter. This individual will then ask the caller for their name, street address and a brief description of their emergency as required by the Federal Communications Commission.

At that point, the Snap!VRS interpreter will place an outbound call to the 911 Enable Emergency Routing Service, which will then identify and connect with the appropriate local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) based on the caller’s location.

The interpreter relays the caller’s name and location information which appears on the PSAP screen just as it would during a direct E911 call. Customers then have the ability to communication through the Snap!VRS interpreter about the emergency to the PSAP operator in order to receive the appropriate services.

"Snap!VRS wants its customers and their family members to be safe in the event of an emergency," said Richard Schatzberg, Snap!VRS Chief Executive Officer, in Friday’s statement.

"Our investment in new technologies and interpreter training will help ensure that our relay customers have 911 services."

The FCC (News - Alert) recently introduced regulations requiring E911 capabilities for all forms of Internet-based telecommunications relay services (TRS) in order to ensure that deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired callers have equivalent access to emergency services.

This partnership between 911 Enable and Snap!VRS to provide 911 service for video relay customers is helping to lead the way towards compliance with these potentially life-saving regulations.

The new capabilities of 911 emergency services over the Internet phone service can provider significant benefits to end users, but also present their own challenges that can ultimately impact the health and safety of an individual. This new partnership between 911 Enable and Snap!VRS will help to ensure that providers stay within FCC regulations, while also helping to improve emergency services for those challenged with hearing impairments.

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is ApplianX IP Gateway as a VoIP-Enabled Programmable Switch, brought to you by Aculab (News - Alert).

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan�s articles, please visit her columnist page.

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