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The National Relay Service is experiencing major interruptions due to the Queensland floods. The National Relay Service (NRS), a phone solution for people who are Deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired, has been dramatically affected by the Brisbane floods. The NRS’s call centre, which is in Brisbane, has had to be evacuated and this has meant that all NRS calls – other than certain emergency calls – are currently unavailable.

These interruptions are continuing, and there is now information available in Auslan (Australian Sign Language).

Please forward this link to your Deaf friends, family and colleagues: www.deafsocietynsw.org.au/floods/

For more information in English, please visit www.relayservice.com.au

What is the NRS?

People who are Deaf type what they want to say (using a computer, or a special phone called a TTY), and a relay officer reads it out to the other person in the phone call. Then, when the other person speaks, the relay officer types what they have said, and this can be read on the computer or TTY screen. The service works similarly for people who are hearing-impaired or speech-impaired, and people with speech impairments can also choose to use their own speech and have a relay officer re-speak what they have said if necessary.

What is 106?

The NRS provides Australia’s 106 service, which is the emergency call service for people who are Deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired. 106 works in a very similar way to Triple Zero. 106 is only available to people who use TTYs, and it can only be used to call police, fire or ambulance services.

Other ways of making phone calls for people who are Deaf or hearing-impaired are also affected by the floods. The Australian Communications Exchange (which runs the NRS call centre) also offers a captioned telephony service for people with hearing impairment, and a video relay service for people who are Deaf and use Auslan (Australian Sign Language). Because of the flood, neither of these services are available either.

For further information about the National Relay Service and these interruptions to service, please visit www.relayservice.com.au