Emergency Call to the Council

Accessible emergency communication for persons with disabilities: a requirement to save lives

Joint statement European Disability Forum, European Union of the Deaf, European Emergency Number Association, European Deafblind Union, European Federation of Hard of Hearing People, European Association of Cochlear Implant users, European Federation of Parents of Hearing Impaired Children, European Deafblind Network

The Council’s proposal to exclude Public Safety Answering Points from the upcoming European Accessibility Act will keep millions of persons with disabilities at risk. The above organisations call on the Council of the EU to accept mandatory and common accessibility requirements for services handling emergency calls. We have the right to call for help!

The European Commission published its proposal for the European Accessibility Act (EAA) at the end of 2015. Once adopted, the Act will set accessibility requirements for several products and services, including emergency services.

Currently, emergency services remain largely inaccessible for many people with disabilities. Several countries have developed ad hoc solutions, such as specific mobile applications that users need to download or to register in beforehand. Nonetheless, many persons with disabilities cannot yet rely on an accessible way to contact emergency services that works across the EU, unlike their non-disabled peers, who can dial 112 with a regular voice call everywhere and around-the-clock.

The Accessibility Act can finally address and fix this discriminatory situation that endangers millions of lives.

Read the joint statement & recommendations from :

• European Emergency Number Association
• European Disability Forum
• European Union of the Deaf
• European Deafblind Union
• European Federation of Hard of Hearing People
• European Association of Cochlear Implant users
• European Federation of Parents of Hearing Impaired Children

EENA, the European Emergency Number Association, is a Brussels-based NGO set up in 1999 dedicated to promoting high-quality emergency services reached by the number 112 throughout the EU. EENA serves as a discussion platform for emergency services, public authorities, decision makers, researchers, associations and solution providers with a view to improving the emergency response in accordance with citizens' requirements. EENA is also promoting the establishment of an efficient system for alerting citizens about imminent or developing emergencies.

The EENA memberships include more than 1300 emergency services representatives from over 80 countries world-wide, 80 solution providers, 15 international associations/organisations, more than 200 Members of the European Parliament and over 90 researchers.

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