George Brown College introduces emergency texting

New service particularly important for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students

Image of a young smartphone user texting

You can now send a text message directly to security at George Brown College. Photo: kaboompics.com CC0

“I’m stuck in the elevator!” isn’t the type of text you want to have to send when you’re at school, but now at least you can send it to the people who can help you.

Starting this September, George Brown College (GBC) is launching an “emergency texting system” where people can directly text the college security’s central dispatch.

“If we can get the college community to be able communicate with security that for me is huge,” says Stacey Andrews, the manager of GBC’s public safety and security department. “The more they’re able to communicate with us, the better it is for the community itself.”

According to a statistical report obtained by The Dialog through a Freedom of Information Act request, there were a total of 45 calls for “elevator entrapment” between Sept. 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015.

So make sure you save the new number (416-723-4761) in your cell phone because you never know when, or where, you might need to send an emergency text.

While this service can be used by everyone, it’s of particular importance to Deaf and hard-of-hearing students and staff at GBC. George Brown is home to academic upgrading for Deaf and hard of hearing students, an American Sign Language interpreter and intervenor for Deafblind persons programs.

“It will remove systemic barriers for Deaf students, and will enable them to communicate effectively with GBC security,  and receive the required assistance in a timely manner,” says Paul Smith, a professor in the Deaf upgrading program. “The ETS will enhance the quality of student life for Deaf students, as they will have equal access to this essential service.”

According to Andrews, the school of Deaf and Deafblind studies at GBC is also the reason that the college’s announcement system can send a text message to phones in each classroom as well as use the phones as an audible PA system.

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George Brown College introduces emergency texting