Voiceless Chat for 119 Emergency Reporting on Smartphones

Voiceless Chat for 119 Emergency Reporting on Smartphones

A System for the Hearing Impaired to be Installed into all Fukui Prefectural Fire Departments

On November 9th, Fukui Prefecture’s Fukui City Fire Department presented a demonstration to the information media, in order to promote a 119 emergency system made for those with hearing or language impairment. The 119 emergency notification system can be operated without the need for speech, using only the smartphone/cellphone’s scree. By next year, it is planned for this system to be implemented into all of the prefecture’s fire departments. During the conference, a 119 multilingual service was also introduced.

The [NET119 Emergency Reporting System] first requires information to be registered, including the name and address. On a smartphone screen, the user can choose between various headings including “Emergency Aid”, “Fire”, or highlighting the current location. After connecting with the fire department, the user can exchange messages through chat, and give further details on the current situation. The Fukui City Fire Department implemented this system during April of last year. As of November 8th, 109 people are registered, but it has not yet been used.

During the demonstration, a fire department staff receives a report from a smartphone and confirms the situation through a chat. The system uses preset message prompts such as, “It is a medical emergency? Are you hurt?”, and “Where do your feel pain?”, to allow emergency staff to quickly receive information from the user.

Meanwhile, there is also a multilingual translation service, to accommodate foreigners who require the 119 emergency services, but are unable to speak Japanese. During such an event, the caller and emergency staff would connect with a private translation call Center, initiating a three-way call. The service was implemented into the city’s fire department during April of last year, and have been able to accommodate 14 different language, including English, Chinese, and Vietnamese. While there are no actual records of reports, there have been six cases where the translation service was needed by first reponders upon arriving on scene.

The demonstration presented a situation where a report is received from a man, located in a shopping Center parking lot, who is suffering from intense abdominal pain. Further information was gathered by interpreting various data points, including the visible structures within the vicinity, and details about the car the man is using.

Hiroki Hayashi, a commander of the Fukui City Fire Department Control Center, commented on the two reporting systems, “Including those with difficulties expressing themselves, and foreigners living in Fukui, we wish for everyone to be able to live with peace of mind.”

For registration or further information concerning the [NET119-] service, the Fukui City Fire Department Control Center can be reached at 0776 (20) 3999. Within the prefecture, the [NET119-] services are also operated by the Sabae-Nyu Fire Department.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/971037

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