In Canada we take it for granted that if we pick up the phone and dial 911 that help will be at the other end of the line (emergency response), or in the event of an impending emergency that affects the general public that someone will notify us (emergency alerts).  While for the majority of the able-bodied population this is true, it is not true for many people with disabilities especially those who use mobile phones as their primary means for staying connected.  Some of the accessibility issues have been addressed, such as supplying an alternative format for people with disabilities, for the traditional plain old telephone service that many of us grew up with, but there are a large number of people with disabilities that simply can’t access these services when it comes to wireless mobile devices.

This project looks specifically at the issues concerning wireless based emergency response and emergency preparedness strategies that need to be discussed as Canadian telecommunication providers prepare to implement new technologies and policies that effect people with disabilities in critical and dramatic ways.  This project is a formal consultative process that will help the disability community, industry and government agencies understand the barriers that people with disabilities will face related to wireless emergency services, the expectation of persons with disabilities regarding the level and types of service they expect and will prioritize the issues for each of the main disability groups.  This study is not meant to be exhaustive in nature, but is meant to create important base line data to appropriately inform the discussion both in terms of existing and new emerging emergency technology and services.

This project is made possible with support from SDPP (opens in a new window) Project funding.

We are currently seeking participants for a study of cell phone based emergency services.