Today is the International Day of Sign Languages, where communities recognise the importance of sign languages around the world.
A different theme is adopted annually, with this year's being "Sign Language Rights for All!"
We are marking the day and signposting communities towards our BSL 999 service, which was launched in Lincolnshire on June 17 last year.
From that date Deaf residents of Lincolnshire were able to contact the emergency services in BSL (British Sign Language).
999 BSL was a new service that connects deaf users to BSL interpreters remotely through an app or a web-based platform, who then relay the conversation with the call handler at the Police, Ambulance, Fire or Coastguard in an emergency.
This service has been set up so that no deaf person will be excluded when they need to make an emergency call, therefore saving lives.
Users can access the 999 BSL service in three simple steps:
Open the app (needs downloading beforehand via iOS or Android) or open the webpage (www.999bsl.co.uk)
Press the red button 'Call 999 BSL now'
Connect to an interpreter
999 BSL is a national service for emergency situations only; if a crime is in progress or there is a risk to life or property.
In April of this year Lincolnshire partnered with the British Sign Language (BSL) Online Interpreting Service, SignLive, to offer the deaf community the option to contact us using their mobile phone or electronic device.
SignLive is a deaf-owned organisation based in the UK providing online video interpreting services through its Video Relay Service (VRS) and Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). This allows deaf people anywhere in the world to communicate with anyone, at any time, using an app which connects them to a qualified British Sign Language interpreter.
Lincolnshire Police has been added to its community directory and our logo is be used to help users identify us. SignLive users can now contact Lincolnshire police via the app in order to use our 101, non-emergency service.
If you are a BSL user, you can use SignLive to connect to an online professional BSL interpreter, tell them you are calling Lincolnshire Police and you can do this from your own device. You only need to register with SignLive once and you will be able to connect with a Lincolnshire Police call handler quickly via SignLive's Community Directory, clearly highlighted with our logo.
This is a free service which is available 24/7, 365 days a year.
In March this year Jessica Hinson, Service Manager from the Lincs Sensory Service, kindly agreed to do a deaf awareness session for an Accessibility Working Group. This was opened up to anyone is service and you can find a recording here.
For more information on BSL and Sign Language Week, visit the British Deaf Association’s website.
There is also a wealth of information on the National Deaf Children’s Society website.