Article 9 of the UN convention of the rights of persons with disabilities requires countries to take measures for the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities (including access to communication and information services) and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 also calls for the principle of accessibility at all levels. Despite this, there are still about 1 million deaf and hard of hearing persons in Europe who currently rely on outdated technology (e.g. fax) and help from others to make an emergency call.

The good news is that existing standards and technologies can provide an adequate and barrier-free solution. DEC112 (Deaf Emergency Call System) already implemented an emergency infrastructure (compliant to NENA NG9-1-1 and ETSI TS 103479) including a mobile app to enable deaf and hard of hearing persons to access emergency services in Austria. This solution is in operation since February 2019. A lot has been learned about the actual needs of emergency callers as well as call takers in control rooms. In the proposed project we want to implement and disseminate new features for DEC112 based on the feedback we received so far:

  • Research and develop of consent management technology to exchange training chat protocols between deaf persons and call takers in control rooms.
  • Allow secure and privacy-preserving data provisioning of pre-recorded personal information in the course of an emergency chat.
  • Extend DEC112 to operate at European level by implementing national and international accessibility to emergency services.