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Monroe County is one of only two counties in New York State to offer a texting service that may save your life. One cell phone carrier is now offering a new option for those who are hearing impaired or unable to talk on a phone in an emergency.
It's hard not to notice the doorbell or telephone ringing inside Meredith Lowe's home. Light signals and TTY phones are something Meredith and others who are hearing impaired depend on.
But even the latest video phone which allows you to make a call through an interpreter, can take up precious time in case of an emergency.
"I've been concerned on many levels, not only about myself, but about my deaf friends."
A new service offered exclusively to Verizon customers will help someone who is deaf or cannot talk on a phone to contact 911.
"It takes away the worry," she said.
That means instead of hiding inside of a closet, hoping the intruder doesn't hear you whispering, you can text 911 from your phone.
Rochester is home to more than 90,000 deaf or hearing impaired residents. They can now directly text to the 911 Center.
The service is only available for Verizon customers in Monroe County.
When texting 911, type your location, emergency and turn on your phone's GPS. However, dialing 911 should always be your first choice.
Lowe says the deaf community is very vocal about businesses that are sensitive to their needs.
"Go to that store, the man knows sign language because his parents were deaf, that means a lot and yes, the word does get out."
Meredith writes for a local paper and conducts interviews through the video phone. Being hearing impaired hasn't stopped her from anything, now her safety won't be any different.