Little Work Needed: Important Results Benefit All

Malisa Janes, Rh.d
Copyright December 2002

As of October 2002, to reach Deaf Relay in the United States, people with hearing loss have been able to dial 711 on public and private phones. That change was mandated to replace the different relay phone numbers in each state so making phone calls would be easier for travelers. The 711 number works well in all states if the phone you are using is a pay phone or a private line to the local phone company.

A problem arises however, when attempting to use a phone where the facility owns the phone system. (With owned phone systems, you have to dial 9 to get an "outside line".) Many large companies, hotels/motels, hospitals and entertainment sites own their phone systems and are unaware there is a problem reaching not only 711 but reaching 911 to report emergencies.

Places that sell and maintain phone systems need to be made aware that installed systems and new installations need to be configured to accept the three digit numbers. The FCC needs to know there is a problem so it can take action to mandate phone system providers assure not only our access, but also that all people can reach emergency help through 911 from every phone.

If we each check out the phones and send a complaint to or by Fax 202-418-0232 - they will take action.

In your correspondence be sure to put:

This takes little time and your action will help us access 711. The businesses will incur little cost for reconfiguration and will benefit in that they avoid putting their customers and employees at risk in an emergency situation.


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