File image: IOL.

CAPE TOWN - Vodacom launched an SMS emergency service for the deaf, hearing as well as speech impaired customers. 

As part of Vodacom’s commitment to adding value to the lives of its customers, the free service aims to make the lives of hearing impaired individuals easier. 

“We are confident that this initiative will assist in promoting the ability to communicate for Deaf and hearing impaired customers through digital inclusion as they can now request help should they experience an emergency situation”. Vodacom is committed to adding value and we are excited to be able to offer this service to some of our more vulnerable customers”, says Vodacom Principal Specialist for Specific Needs, Karen Smit. 

Smit said that Vodacom has been providing accessible products to customers with disabilities since 2004. Vodacom also received the Human Rights Summit from the Disability Alliance (SADA) award in SA. 

Vodacom’s other products include an easy to use devices, a device repair priority process and a big keypad including the HearZA App which was developed in partnership with the University of Pretoria. The app tests for early detection of hearing problems. 

According to Vodacom, previously deaf and hearing impaired persons were unable to contact an emergency service centre as it could only be accessed via voice calls. 

The SMS Emergency Service is free for Vodacom Prepaid, Contract and Top Up customers. 

Deaf and hearing impaired customers will now be able to request emergency services via SMS by sending an SMS to 082 112. Customers will be able to request the services of police and ambulance. 

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