This research brief presents survey data collected by the Wireless RERC on actual and preferred methods for contacting emergency response services by people living with hearing and/or speech loss. The data were collected as part of the Survey on Emergency Communications and People with Disabilities conducted by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC).
These questions are of critical importance as access to emergency services by people with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities can mean the difference between life and death. Additionally, ongoing innovation in consumer technologies – especially mobile wireless technologies – has made possible new ways of contacting and communicating with emergency response services. Against this backdrop federal regulatory authorities have been engaged in rulemaking to ensure equitable access to emergency response services by people with disabilities, especially people who have difficulty communicating by voice – people living with hearing or speech loss.