Good News for the Deaf: Call an Ambulance via Cell-Text

For the first time, those who can't communicate by phone will be able to text-message an emergency call for help.

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Hillel Fendel ,

For the first time, those who cannot communicate by phone will be able to text-message an emergency call for help.

The Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency health service has launched a new service whereby one can summon an ambulance or other medical help via cell-phone text message (also known as SMS).  Until now, the only option for deaf people who could not hold a phone conversation was to summon an ambulance via fax.

Almost every Israeli is aware of the nationwide three-digit emergency numbers: 100 gets you the police, 101 reaches MDA, and 102 will alert the fire department.  A new number will now be added to the array: 052-7000-101.  A message indicating the caller's name, exact address, and details of the case can be sent to this number, and it will reach MDA's national headquarters.  From there, an operator will dispatch the nearest ambulance and will respond to the caller via text-message.

Lilach Suissan, who heads an organization that treats 70 incapacitated and deaf people in Sderot, was thrilled with the new service.  "If a deaf person has no one around who understands sign language," she told Ynet, "he has no way of responding to a Color Red rocket warning.  This news is great - just like the first water faucet that was installed in the south."



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