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A) Introduction and History
Before 1990, millions of people in the United States could not communicate on the telephone because they were deaf or hard of hearing. As a result, they often had to rely on their relatives, neighbors, or even strangers to make calls for them — depriving them of independence. They also often had to drive miles to stores or businesses only to find that the place was closed, because they couldn’t make a simple call to find out hours.
In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted, allowing millions of people to finally have full independence in making their own calls. Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities implemented telecommunications accessibility, leading to the creation of relay services. For more information, visit www.ada.gov
All relay calls are strictly confidential, and no records of any conversation are maintained. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have implemented requirements that must be adhered to:
Relay operators (OPR), are prohibited from intentionally altering or disclosing the content of a relayed conversation and must relay all conversation verbatim unless the user specifically requests summarization.
TRS providers must ensure user confidentiality and OPRs (with a limited exception for speech-to-speech calls) may not keep recorded of the contents of any conversation.
Each conversation must be relayed in real time.
All OPRs, supervisors, and administrative staff must sign a pledge of confidentiality and agree to the Code of Ethics to protect users’ rights and privacy.
C) Who are Relay NC and STS NC customers?
Relay NC and STS NC customers are people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, late-deafened, and people with speech disabilities; people who are hearing also use the services. To learn more about the many services provided, Click here
D) Tips on Receiving Relay NC Calls
Talk directly to the caller. Do not say, “Tell him/her,” “I said,” or “Explain to him/her.” Also know that the relay operator will share any and all words you speak, and also share background noises or side conversations, so be sure not to make indirect side comments.
Be patient. Relay calls can take longer than standard calls.
Speak clearly and at a normal pace. The relay operator will let you know if you are speaking too slow or too fast.
E) Information about North Carolina Division for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Relay NC is one of the vendors of the North Carolina Division for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NCDSHH). NCDSHH provides valuable resources, educational advocacy, and services to help eliminate communication barriers while increasing accessibility.
There are unlimited benefits to becoming an RBF partner!
Great marketing for your business: Anytime Relay NC customers call your business, they will know that you are familiar with relay calls, which will help increase business for you and strengthen your relationships with them.
Show that you are an inclusive business: Once you’ve completed the test and officially become an RBF partner, post the decal that we give you on your office window or elsewhere. Customers seeing this decal will know that you are inclusive and support them. You may also include our RBF logo on your website and other materials.
Receive marketing materials at no cost: You can order marketing materials from Relay NC at no charge, or download the materials from our website.
Participate in free webinars: Receive updates and learn new things by participating in our monthly webinars at your convenience. Private, customized webinars are also available to you upon request
And much more is available to you once you’ve become a partner!
Are you ready for taking a test and find out how much you know about Relay NC and STS NC? Click here.