Icon of a hand doing the sign for emergency and "CNIB Emergency Intervenor Services".

Emergency Intervenor Services

CNIB Deafblind Services operates the Emergency Intervenor Service program that allows CNIB clients in Ontario with vision loss and hearing loss (Deafblind) to contact an intervenor if they are in an emergency situation.

An emergency situation is an unexpected, serious and/or dangerous situation that can cause an immediate risk to a person’s life, health or safety, requiring immediate attention. An emergency may involve the client who is Deafblind, their immediate family/caretaker, their service animal or their property.

This service, funded by the Government of Ontario, operates 24 hour a day, seven days a week.

Clients in Ontario who receive intervenor services and/or case management support from CNIB Deafblind Services are the primary users of this emergency service.

Emergency Communication Kits are available. The kit contains items to assist the person who is Deafblind as well as allows the first responder/hospital staff to communicate until an intervenor arrives.

CNIB clients are encouraged to keep the kit near the front entrance of their home so it can be easily located during an emergency.

A Communication Alert card is attached to the front of the kit, stating that the person has vision loss and hearing loss, and indicates the preferred communication method used by the person, i.e. tactile American Sign Language or speech.

How the service works:

Contact the emergency intervenor service operated by the call centre, Answerplus:
Phone: 1-855-862-6001
TTY: 1-855-862-5999
SMS: 905-745-7112
Email: cnibdbs@answerplus.ca

The call centre operator will ask pertinent questions to determine the client’s name, nature of the emergency situation and location as well as the client’s expressive and receptive communication method.

A CNIB client can register with the Emergency Intervenor Service to have their personal information added to a database. This saves time in an emergency. It enables the operator to ask their name and then immediately access the person’s file, providing their address, contact information and communication preferences, enabling the operator to quickly move onto asking the nature of the emergency. This is also helpful if a first responder calls the call centre on the client’s behalf, i.e. the person is unconscious and the first responder has found the emergency intervenor service number on the snap-on card attached to their health card. This item is included in the Emergency Communication Kit bag.

When a client registers with the service, they also have the option of listed intervenor preferences. They may feel more comfortable working with a particular intervenor – someone they have worked with before and who is fluent in their communication method.

The call centre operator will contact an intervenor from the database or from the client’s preference list.

CNIB clients can use the Emergency Communication Kit and/or their own technical devices (i.e. iPhone and braille display) to communicate with the first responder until an intervenor arrives.

Intervenor(s) will provide service until the emergency status is stabilized. At this point, the manager of CNIB Deafblind Services and the project lead for that area will coordinate regular intervenor services, if needed.

Please visit our YouTube channel to view a described video outlining our Emergency Intervenor Services for individuals who are Deafblind. The video also contains ASL and subtitles. It is available in English and French.

You will also find an instructional video that will be used to train EMS/hospital staff about the CNIB Emergency Intervenor Service.

Contact CNIB’s Emergency Intervenor Program

In an Emergency

Toll-free phone: 1-855-862-6001
TTY: 1-855-862-5999
SMS: 905-745-7112
Email: cnibdbs@answerplus.ca

For general information

Beverly Morris, Manager, Deafblind Services, London
Phone: 519 685-8420 x.5103
Email: beverly.morris@deafblindservices.ca

Jessica White, Manager, Deafblind Services, Ottawa
Phone: 613 563-4021 x.5016
Email: jessica.white@deafblindservices.ca

Alice Burton, Manager, Deafblind Services, Toronto
Phone: 416 486-2500 x.8265
Email: alice.burton@deafblindservices.ca

Tammy Taylor, Manager, Deafblind Services, Hamilton
Phone: 905 688-0022 x.5333
Email: tammy.taylor@deafblindservices.ca

Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.