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RapidSOS: 911 emergency resource for people with hearing loss

Updated: Feb 7

RapidSOS and the Center for Hearing and Communication collaborate to provide mobile safety and security

  1. 240 million [1] 9-1-1 calls are made every year in the U.S.; over 70% [2] are from mobile phones, which fail to provide exact location to emergency dispatchers

  2. 48 million [3] Americans have some degree of hearing loss, which can make communication with emergency dispatchers difficult

  3. Haven represents a transformation in access to emergency services – from a phone call solely dependent on voice to a robust data connection for voice, text, medical/demographic data

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – New York City (July 7, 2016).

The Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) today announced a collaboration with RapidSOS, an advanced emergency technology start-up revolutionizing personal safety and connectivity. RapidSOS will offer CHC clients one year of free access to Haven, providing enhanced access to emergency services for individuals with hearing loss.

Working together, RapidSOS and CHC will support those with hearing loss by connecting them to their loved ones and providing peace of mind that emergency help is one touch away when they need it. With one tap on Haven, the app connects the user with the nearest dispatch center anywhere in the contiguous U.S., while providing a voice connection and a data pipeline to 9-1-1, to transmit:

  1. Text messages: Haven speaks the text message if the dispatch center does not have the capability to receive texts. Currently works one-way (user to 9-1-1); two-way coming in future

  2. GPS location

  3. Type of emergency

  4. Relevant medical and demographic datav

When setting up the app, users conveniently enter medical conditions, allergies, and medications, so that life-saving information is communicated directly to 9-1-1 when the app is used to trigger an alert. Haven’s “Can’t Speak” function allows users to notify 9-1-1 that they cannot speak and/or have difficulty hearing. When a user taps “Can’t Speak,” their location and relevant information is automatically transmitted to the dispatcher, without the need for a verbal conversation. The user can then send text messages to 9-1-1 to further explain their emergency. While currently, only 6%[4] of dispatch centers have the technology to receive text messages, Haven enables universal texting by speaking (text-to-speech) the text message.

“It is vitally important that anyone can communicate clearly with 9-1-1 dispatchers, regardless of hearing loss or auditory challenges,” said RapidSOS co-founder and CEO Michael Martin. “We are passionate about connecting members of the community to the help they need to communicate reliably with emergency services.”

The Haven app also includes access to RapidSOS’ Family Connect feature, which can be a unique asset for college students. For the first time, people can call 9-1-1 on behalf of a loved one, transmitting their loved one’s location and relevant data directly to the dispatch center closest to them. Additionally, Family Connect allows users to share their location with loved ones, see family members’ real-time locations without the distraction of a phone call or text, and easily ask family and friends for help. A user can choose who can see their location and when it is shared, ensuring privacy and control.

“This collaboration with RapidSOS brings important value to individuals with hearing loss,” said Laurie Hanin, CHC Executive Director. “Clear communication is rarely more important than during an emergency, and Haven provides peace of mind that those with hearing loss will be able to reliably communicate with 9-1-1 personnel.”

RapidSOS is offering Haven free to those associated with CHC for one year, if they sign up here. The Haven app is available for iPhone and Android devices and works anywhere across the contiguous U.S. and Hawaii, with one touch emergency calling in over 250 countries and jurisdictional territories. For more information about RapidSOS and the Haven app, visit

About RapidSOS

RapidSOS was formed in 2012 by a team of M.I.T., Harvard, and Stanford grad students who had personal experiences with the challenges of the existing emergency communication infrastructure. Working closely with the 9-1-1 community, tech and telecom companies, and leading investors, RapidSOS is developing technology to predict and preempt emergencies before they occur, dynamically warn people in harm’s way, and ensure that first responders are one touch away globally. Learn more at

Contact: Regina Jaslow (347) 879-0024

About the Center for Hearing and Communication

The Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) provides life-affirming hearing healthcare to over 20,000 people annually. CHC is committed to improving the quality of life for children and adults with all degrees of hearing loss and listening and auditory challenges.

Contact: Laurie Hanin 917-305-7760

[1] National Emergency Number Association.

[2] National 911 Program. Review of Nationwide 911 Data Collection.

[4] National 911 Program. State of 911 Webinar.


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