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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 14:18 GMT
Disabled helped to text 999 crews
Mobile phone
People will start their message with "police", "medic" or "rescue"
Deaf and speech-impaired people are to be able to text the emergency services for help under a new initiative.

People can send a text starting with the word "police", "medic", or "rescue", followed by their message, and get immediate help.

The 60066 text alert number was unveiled by Kent Police on Tuesday.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Harris said people could alert 999 crews without the "problems that could be linked to conventional methods".

Mr Harris added: "With technology moving forward all the time, it's vital that we use the latest and most efficient means of communication for everybody in our local communities."

'Life-saving scheme'

Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire, said it would "empower deaf and speech impaired people to gain quick and easy access to emergency services where and when they need to".

And she said the project was "a great example for the rest of the country".

Posters and leaflets advertising the scheme, set up by the police, Kent County Council and fire services in Kent, are being distributed across the county.

Councillor Kevin Lynes said it was a "vital" system, which could "quite literally save lives".

Steve Griffiths, assistant director of Kent Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It is really important to us that deaf people are able to contact us quickly and easily if they need our help.

"This new service is a great solution."



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