Mobile application “Deaf Help” – Deaf assistance in emergency situations

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In the event of a life or health emergency, the most important thing is to quickly call professional services: the police, fire brigade or emergency medical services. However, people with impaired hearing or who are deaf cannot make phone calls in the event of an emergency. The mobile application Deaf Help aids a deaf person to independently inform the services that he or she needs help.

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Deaf have a lot of issues to deal with in life: visiting the hospital, registration for a family doctor, visiting the office. Slowly it changes. However, there are areas where "slowly" is unacceptable. One such area is the call for help.

The Warmia and Mazury Voivodeship Office in Olsztyn has dwell on this problem and in cooperation with representatives of the Deaf prepared a solution. In May 2015, a dedicated SMS gateway was launched. After registering in the Emergency Response Center database, the person receives a number on which a text message (SMS) can be sent in case of emergency.

The registration form includes, among others. home address, medical conditions, contact details of the caregiver. Just after launching the solution, the reality proved to be much more demanding. Most of deaf people, especially in emergency situations, are unable or not capable to write understandable messages for the 112 operator. Another "brain storm" brought an effective solution. And so DeafHelp was developed for mobile devices. The principle of operation is very simple and consists in encoding the alarm message with clear pictograms. Several categories of events were selected in cooperation with the services and assigned to them: fire, accident, thief, diabetes, etc. It was decided that the selected categories of events are due to the type and number of necessary on-site operations.

These categories make it easier for the 112 operator to decide which services should be informed about the accident. Reporting an emergency by DeafHelp application takes a few seconds and it comes down to: category -> subcategory -> address -> comment -> send a message (e.g. fire, house, address from form, 2nd floor). Technical solutions are just one element of the agreement. Also, Deaf visit the Emergency Centre, get acquainted with the functioning of the medical dispatchers and learn to give first aid. 112 Emergency Response Centre and representatives of the deaf community also work on a paper version of the "communicator", with which members of the rescue teams and other emergency services will be equipped. This solution is intended to facilitate communication between them at the scene of the accident.

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Year: 2015
Level of government: Regional/State government


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