HARRISBURG – Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll recognized today as “711/PA Relay Day” and encouraged all Pennsylvanians to learn more about the campaign to raise awareness about the services that enable all Pennsylvanians to communicate by phone with people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled.
Also today, representatives from the PA Relay Street Team of Educators were out “Spreading the Word” about telecommunications relay services by distributing information in high-traffic areas in Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading and Scranton.
Monday, July 11, was chosen for “PA Relay Day” because 711 is the number to dial to gain access to PA Relay Services.
“It is my pleasure to recognize today, July 11, as ‘711/PA Relay Day’ in PA,” said Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll. “I want to encourage all Pennsylvanians to learn more about PA Relay and the various communications technologies available to assist those who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled to better communicate by telephone.”
PUC Chairman Wendell F. Holland, who lives in the Philadelphia area, said, “Everyone knows to call 911 in an emergency. And people know to call 411 for directory assistance. But most Pennsylvanians don’t know that they can dial 711 to communicate by phone with people with hearing or speech loss. It is important that the next time you receive a call and hear a pause or an operator don’t hang up! It could be a PA Relay call.”
PUC Commissioner Kim Pizzingrilli, a native of the Erie area who lives in the Harrisburg region, said, “We are pleased that Lt. Gov. Knoll is recognizing today as ‘711/PA Relay Day’ in Pennsylvania. PA Relay street teams today are visiting seven major cities across the state and distributing PA Relay materials to consumers over their lunch breaks and talking about PA Relay.”
PUC Commissioner Bill Shane, who lives in Indiana County, said, “In May 1988, when I was Chairman, the PUC started the telecommunications relay service at the request of Sandy Duncan, a gentleman who is deaf, who still works at the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation in Labor and Industry. For 15 years, Pennsylvania has been a national leader in providing telephone services for consumers with hearing or speech loss, and we continue to be a national leader in educating people about this technology.”
The PA Relay celebrity spokesperson, Christy Smith, an advocate for deaf awareness and a competitor on CBS’s “Survivor” was in Harrisburg today, spreading the word about 711.
“I am proud to partner with the PUC and the PA Relay Service Advisory Board to spread the word about PA Relay to all Pennsylvanians,” said Smith.”
Since the launch in March 2004, the statewide consumer-education campaign has seen recognition of the relay service among the hearing public increase from 9 percent to 12 percent. In addition, 22 percent of Pennsylvania residents saw coverage of PA Relay and 711 in the media, up from 4 percent the previous year.
The statewide advertising and education campaign includes radio, billboard, mass transit, mall kiosk advertising, a Web site, www.PArelay.net, and an in-classroom educational element aimed at school-aged children.
The Pennsylvania Relay Service is an AT&T phone service regulated by the PUC, offering persons who are hearing, deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled three ways to connect using the telephone: Traditional Relay, Video Relay and Internet Relay. Each conversation is relayed by a trained Communications Assistant, or CA, who follows a strict code of ethics and confidentiality. PA Relay is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and virtually eliminates the difficulty in communicating by phone.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ensures safe, reliable and reasonably priced electric, natural gas, water, telephone and transportation service for Pennsylvania consumers, by regulating public utilities and by serving as stewards of competition.
“Spread the Word! Communicate by phone with people who have hearing or speech loss.” For more information, log onto www.PArelay.net or dial 711.
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