HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) and Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll are encouraging all Pennsylvanians to join them on Tuesday, July 11, to commemorate “7-1-1/PA Relay Day.”
PA Relay is the service that enables consumers to communicate by telephone with people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled. As part of a Commission-led consumer education effort, Lt. Gov. Knoll is recognizing Tuesday, July 11, as “7-1-1/PA Relay Day” in Pennsylvania.
As part of her recognition, Lt. Gov. Knoll noted that PA Relay is “an essential technological advancement in our Commonwealth. The Relay Service develops the communication abilities of the people of Pennsylvania, unifying our citizens in a more extensive equality of access to the world.”
July 11 was chosen for “PA Relay Day” because 7-1-1 is the phone number used to call the PA Relay service.
“Surveys show that nearly one out of every 12 Pennsylvanians is deaf, hard of hearing, or has a speech-related disability,” said PUC Chairman Wendell F. Holland. “The Commission is committed to supporting our consumers with disabilities, and we encourage all Pennsylvanians to learn more about 7-1-1. When you receive a call and hear a pause or an operator, don’t hang up. Someone may be trying to contact you using the PA Relay service.”
PA Relay is an AT&T phone service regulated by the PUC that offers three ways for persons who are hearing, deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled to connect using the telephone: Traditional Relay, Video Relay and Internet Relay. Conversations are relayed by trained communications assistants, who follow a strict code of ethics and confidentiality.
The PUC started the telecommunications relay service in 1988 and launched a state-wide consumer education campaign in March 2004. The statewide advertising and education campaign includes radio, billboard, mass transit, and mall kiosk advertising, as well as a website, www.parelay.net, and an in-classroom educational element, aimed at school-aged children. It also includes special outreach efforts with health-related associations and organizations and other state-wide groups.
The campaign is using “Don’t Hang Up,” the hit song recorded by The Orlons of Philadelphia in the 1960s, as part of its 30-second statewide radio advertisements. “Don’t hang up. Now don’t you do it now,” is the advice given in radio spots aired this spring and again on Relay Day. The phrase “Don’t Hang Up” also appears statewide on billboards, bus posters and transit shelter advertising, which prominently displays the campaign website, www.parelay.net.
“Don’t Hang Up” hit number four on the Billboard Charts in fall of 1962.
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.
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