Attention All Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Speech Impaired Citizens

ImpairmentDid you know that South San Francisco Police and Fire Departments have had TTY's in our dispatch center since the ADA was passed in January of 1992? We have seven answering positions in our public safety dispatch center with TTY's at every answering point. All of these positions are equipped to answer by telephone or TTY with just a touch on our "touch screen" computer.

Our dispatchers are taught the three different ways that a TTY call can be received:
  1. TTY call announced - because some TTY's have a pre-recorded synthesized voice message announcing the incoming TTY call.
  2. Tones heard - because the caller is pressing their space bar!! This helps us recognize the call as a TTY call.
  3. Silent call - because the caller may not be pressing their space bar. This could be for a couple of reasons.
    1. It may be a habit for them not to press their space bar because they are used to using their TTY to call their deaf friends or family. In this case they would not press their space bar because their deaf friends or family would not hear the tones.
    2. They can't press the space bar for some reason i.e., they have fallen or fainted.
The dispatchers are also taught how a TTY call might differ from a telephone call - that a Deaf caller does not react to the SOUNDS of an emergency and they may be more deeply involved in the emergency when they call us. A Deaf citizen will not hear, for example, the baby falling down the stairs, the glass window breaking, the fire crackling, etc.

If you ever need to call us via "911" or our seven digit number: (650) 873-3333, we encourage you to press your space bar; it helps us recognize the call as a TTY call.

What to Expect
Some things you can expect if you do call us are:

The first message you receive from us will be a "pre-programmed" message: "this is South San Francisco police what is your emergency q ga".

We will want to confirm the address where the crime or emergency is occurring. The emergency may not be occurring where you may be calling from so we will also ask you your address and TTY number along with some other questions. It is important that you try to remain calm and do not hang up until instructed to do so.

If your call is an emergency we may keep you on line until help arrives. This way we can update the officer or fire department who is responding. If your call is a Medical emergency we will transfer you to San Mateo County Dispatch for some "pre-arrival" advice. They will tell you what to do until the Fire Department / Paramedics arrive.

We encourage our citizens with TTY's to call and practice with us. This helps us stay in practice and keep our skills up. If you are interested in participating you can contact Karen Grimley at (650) 873-3333 via your TTY, voice mail (using the California Relay Service at (650) 829-7222 x1100. If Karen is not working one of the other dispatchers will take a message, and she will contact you on her next working day.