Video & IP Relay Service / PSAP Interaction

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Video Relay Service & IP Relay Service PSAP Interaction Operations Information Document

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This NENA Video Relay Service (VRS) and Internet Protocol Relay Service (IP Relay) PSAP Interaction OID is intended to provide guidelines for PSAPs and recommendations to the FCC for:

  • Emergency calling to 9-1-1 using Video Relay and IP Relay services
  • Relay of such calls to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP)(?)
  • Interaction between the caller, the video relay interpreter (VI) or communications assistant (CA) and telecommunicator

With today’s expanding technology, people have options for communication methods. People who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, and individuals with a speech disability are following along with these trends and are rapidly migrating from traditional TTY to more advanced telecommunications methods, both for peer-to-peer communications, and for relay services. This newer Internet-based equipment includes, but is not limited to, wireless devices, videophones/videocams, computers, and instant messaging technologies.

The range of options makes it possible for people who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability to choose the modality that, for the individual and given the circumstances and resources at hand, is most responsive to his or her communication preferences. In this way, these users are able to come closer to telephone communication that is functionally equivalent to that enjoyed by people who can hear and speak. The new modalities face the same Internet-based challenges as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for the emergency services industry, and the issues are further complicated by the nature of relayed calls. These challenges are compounded by current federally mandated rules that require relay Communication Assistants and Video Interpreters to be transparent when processing a telephone conversation.

Since these newer Internet-based telecommunications relay services have proven themselves to be effective, it is only natural that people who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability will want to have the option to turn to them for emergency calling as well, in addition to (or instead of) the use of a TTY. Consequently, there is a need to develop proven, uniform operational guidelines for PSAPs and recommendations to the FCC for calling through the relay services such as caller-to-relay service interaction, relay-service-to PSAP interaction, and caller-to-relay service-to-PSAP interaction.

The roles of a VI and CA are to provide effective communication2 by relaying a conversation between two parties. The information passed between two parties is kept confidential. Relay services do not keep records (audio, video or written) of caller conversations3. However, the relayed calls received by PSAPs will be routinely electronically recorded as any other 9-1-1 call. The VI and CA are not participants and are to remain transparent.

In order to provide effective communication during emergency calls, the VI is allowed to temporarily record caller location, contact information and any other pertinent details provided by the caller that will assist telecommunicators in providing timely and appropriate services. This temporary record will be erased after the call is terminated.

While this document focuses initially on interim operational guidelines and recommendations, technical issues require further attention. Following completion of this document, work needs to begin on migratory and long-term operational guidelines and recommendations. This document’s recommendations may demonstrate the need to change existing federal (particularly FCC) regulations.

Committee Information
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Operations – Accessibility

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Video & IP Relay Service & PSAP Interaction 264.45 KB