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114 - the calling number for service for persons with disabilities


A deaf man calls 114, and the phone screen turns into a video call in which both sides use sign language. The man wants to say that a car blocked the road, and he needs to take some form of transportation. The officer in the Command and Control room inquires about the car and solves the problem in minutes.


Another man calls and wants to say that he is in a taxi and that he intends to go somewhere, but the taxi driver could not figure out his direction. Calling 114 provided the solution because the security officer communicated with the taxi driver. When faced with a difficulty in communicating with an employee in a government department, and the employee could not understand what the person with a disability wanted, that was the solution. This was the case with one woman who wanted to request an ambulance for a medical condition: communicating with a security officer was the crucial solution that saved the day.


These stories and others were coming from the Command and Control room of the Public Security Directorate. Al-Ghad was present as these calls came in from deaf and dumb people or even from people who could talk. Those usually want to connect a deaf person to the recipient of the call of the general security staff working in this department, as they have a great ability in running things and mastery in understanding the messages received.


Every day, many issues and stories that are private and confidential to some people are resolved in this department. The humanitarian and security aspects meet and reflect on the Jordanian society. It was necessary to provide services that take into account the need of a particular group of society, such as the deaf and dumb who are unable to communicate with society naturally. They have the need and the desire for a safe environment for them to communicate with the competent authorities in the event of an emergency.


114, launched in the third quarter of 2014, is equivalent to 911. It is still applied to the deaf and dumb sector that communicates in sign language. It makes available the service of receiving complaints and requesting help in different forms in the case of an emergency. These sectors naturally need special support, care and people who understand their language and have the ability to help them.


This is what the Public Security Directorate was keen to do in cooperation with the Higher Council for Disabled Affairs, as stated by the Director of Command and Control, Colonel Rami Al-Dabbas. He explained to Al-Ghad that the Public Security Directorate was careful to publicize this service through several means. They conducted guiding workshops to advertise the service and communicated with media channels in order to publicize it. They are hoping that this will become the culture through which safety and security will be established and would cover everyone, including the deaf.


In 2016, the Directorate of Command and Control received 488 different calls or reports through 114. The reports were numerous and included accidents, open humanitarian aid in all its forms, consulting about transactions, whether in government departments or in hospitals, and much of what a deaf person may need without having an assistant, while the security officer becomes his assistant in such cases.


First Lieutenant Marwan Freihat is responsible for receiving calls and training people in sign language, to be fully prepared. He explains that the staff on this line received intensive training from the best sign language trainers in the Arab world.


Freihat says that since the launch of the service many calls have been received, most of which are for requesting services or a clarification. Most of these are also related to humanitarian cases, security issues, accidents, reporting security incidents and sometimes complaints. However, the security personnel working in this sector are perfectly ready to be the spokespersons for the callers to connect them with the outside world in the many details of daily life.


The 114 service in the Public Security Directorate won the first place in the Geneva Conference from among 98 countries that had presented security services in the same vein, but Jordan was the first to that. Freihat explains that out of 35 people in the Kingdom, 6 workers in this service have a license to practice the profession of sign language for the deaf and dumb. This reflects the Public Security Directorate’s keenness to make them part of the humanitarian community. There are about 30,000 deaf people in the Kingdom, and they need someone to connect them with the surrounding world, understand specific details and know what they want.


Freihat continues to say that deaf persons are weak in communicating their ideas, and in an emergency, they become confused and tense because they know in advance that they may not find someone who could absorb them. Therefore, the Command and Control management made sure that that the worker in this field has a personality capable of understanding their position, absorbing the fear and anxiety of the deaf caller, with intuitiveness in understanding what they want within seconds. In the end, they call due to an emergency.


Through his work in this field, Freihat stresses that all individuals, whether deaf, dumb or capable of speech should have a permanent orientation to using 114 as a solution to many of the obstacles that may arise. A deaf person may not have a phone or the ability to access a security officer. Communicating through 114 has to be an option for community members, without having to be familiar with sign language, because it is actually a difficult language and needs in-depth knowledge. This generates a sense of reassurance in both parties.


Raed Othman is a deaf person who made use of the 114 service. He confirms that his communication with public security officers in many of the situations he experienced was a solution to his daily problems in which he needs an assistant. He does not hesitate to contact security. The video call has become his way of inquiry and reporting when he had previously found it difficult to communicate with them. He thanked the Public Security Directorate for their prompt response to him and to his peers when they need it.



Freihat interprets Raed’s language: Raed shows pride among his friends from other countries for these services. It is not available in most countries, and Jordan is the first to provide it. “My friends were impressed when they knew about this service and that our security institutions apply human rights in its finest form, especially the rights of persons with disabilities.”


In his message to the Jordanian society, Raed thanks the Public Security Department and the media for adopting this service and for trying to introduce it to society members so that it becomes part of our culture and our daily practice in the service of society members who may suffer from problems that stand between them and the expression of their need.


Abdul-Majid Al-Hjooj is the founder of the “Silence is Life” initiative for the deaf. He tells Al-Ghad that he is proud of the existence of such security initiatives that save the day in cases of people in difficult situations that do not register as such for others, but which are difficult for people with disabilities and need to be understood.


Al-Hjooj calls on every deaf person to provide himself with a smart phone on which this service is available. He praises this step, which shows the concern of security authorities for all sectors of society, including people with hearing disabilities and speech disorders.


It should be noted that such humanitarian services are largely compatible with the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and endorsed by the Jordanian government in 2008. It is also in harmony with the Jordanian Law on Persons with Disabilities to facilitate access opportunities for persons with disabilities.