Disability affects a high proportion of the population, but many countries still do not provide accessible emergency services. Limited communications options can leave persons with disabilities in particularly dangerous situations in times of emergency, particularly as many emergency services are only accessible via voice call. The situation is nevertheless changing, as recent European Union (EU) legislation requires equivalent access to emergency services through emergency communications.
This document explores the main legislation regarding accessible emergency services, including the 2018 European Electronic Communications Code and the 2019 Accessibility Act. It presents the functional requirements of effective solutions, including caller location, reliability, roaming and call-back, among others.
Several solutions are currently in use in different European countries, including total conversation, relay services, SMS, Real-time Text (RTT), smartphone applications and fax. The document explores the pros and cons of these systems and defines a number of recommendations for countries implementing solutions.