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Deaf people suing Arizona to get 911 text system implemented

(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, file)

PHOENIX — When an emergency strikes, we’re all taught from a young age to pick up a phone and dial 911 to get help. But what happens when you are unable to hear the operator at the other end of the line?

A group of deaf people is suing the state of Arizona to force the implementation of a system that would allow people to send text messages to 911 operators in an emergency.

“Everyday, there is a risk of an emergency and a failure to have a speedy response in communication,” Howard Rosenblum, director of legal services for the National Association for the Deaf, said through a translator.

Rosenblum said he does not see a reason why the service cannot be used.

“Currently, we have the technology and it’s not economically prohibitive,” he said. “We believe the courts will support this lawsuit.”

About 15 percent of Americans have access to 911 texting services.

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