Vodacom's hearing and speech impaired customers now have a dedicated SMS emergency service at their disposal.
According to the mobile operator, the SMS emergency service is free and exclusively provided for its prepaid, contract, and top-up customers who are hearing and speech impaired and allows them to request emergency services such as police, fire, and ambulance services by sending an SMS to 082 112.
Previously, hearing impaired persons were unable to contact an emergency service centre as it could only be accessed via voice calls.
Customers must first register to use this service by sending an SMS with the keyword ‘Register’ to 082 112. After indicating their disability and accepting the terms and conditions, their mobile number will be registered.
They can send the word 'help' to the dedicated number to request an emergency service such as an ambulance, fire, sea rescue or police service.
Karen Smit, Vodacom principal specialist for specific needs, says that this is a first for South Africa and the continent. “We are confident that this initiative will assist in promoting the ability to communicate for hearing impaired customers through digital inclusion as they can now request help should they experience an emergency situation”.