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Deaf and Hard of Hearing Resources

The Rochester area is home to one of, if not the largest, per capita population of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in America. This page contains resources designed to better serve this critical community.

Special Announcement: The City of Rochester is seeking input to better serve the deaf and hard of hearing.

Click here to take the survey


311 Live

The City's 311 Call Center accepts video relay calls and also offers TTY/TRS at 711. Our representatives are here to provide citizens with immediate access to City government and all its services. The number 311 works within city limits. To reach the 311 Call Center from outside city limits, call (585) 428-5990.

Click here for 311 Live!

Emergency Alerts

The City of Rochester participates in Hyper-Reach to keep citizens informed during emergency situations. Hyper-Reach is a community notification enrollment tool that the City's emergency response teams can use in the event of an emergency situation or critical community alert. Examples may include evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices or missing child or wanted person alerts. The high-speed mass notification system can send phone calls, text messages and notices to TDD/TTY devices during critical situations. 

The secure sign-up process allows residents and businesses to add or update their contact information to ensure they will be included when a message is sent. Unlisted numbers, mobile numbers, TDD/TTY devices can all be entered. In addition, users can sign up for emergency notices and/or general notifications and add as many phones as needed. Sign up for Hyper-Reach here. People without computer access may sign up by calling 1-866-939-0911. Residents are also encouraged to sign up for emergency respone alerts from the City of Rochester.

Text to 911

The City's 9-1-1 Center is the first in New York State to accept text messages from all four major cell phone carriers. Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint customers who need to contact 9-1-1 can send a text message for help. During a 9-1-1 text, it is imperative to provide the location and the nature of the emergency. Text to 9-1-1 is an excellent tool for the deaf and hard of hearing population as well as for those who are unable to make a voice call during either a medical emergency or home invasion or abduction.

Interacting with the Rochester Police Department

The Rochester Police Department is continuously seeking ways to improve communications and relationships with the deaf and hard of hearing community. Officers meet regularly with the Center for Disability Rights to discuss concerns from the community as well as with other groups that advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing community. 

The Deaf Driver Communication Visor Card — developed in collaboration with the Rochester Police Department and the Regional Center for Independent Living's (RCIL) Deaf and Police Interactive Committee — assists with communication between police officers and deaf drivers during traffic stops. It helps reduce misunderstanding and confusion by including suggestions for what a driver should do when pulled over, such as roll down the window and place their hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer. The Visor Card has tips that may further facilitate the successful completion of the traffic stop. Print your own Deaf Driver Communications Visor Card.

Rochester Fire Department Resources

The Rochester Fire Department installs free smoke alarms designed for deaf and hard of hearing individuals that feature a vibration component and a strobe. Call 311; (585) 428-1362; or TTY/TDD (585) 428-7600 to request one.

In addition, the Rochester Fire Department urges all residents to be prepared in the case of an emergency. View FEMA’s Ready Campaign’s video which highlights the four building blocks of preparedness - Be Informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit and Get Involved. 

Rochester City Council Meetings

Assistive devices for the hearing impaired are available. “Speak to Council” sessions, are opportunities to address City Council on any issue. Find the schedule here. The sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. and pre-registration is required. If you need an interpreter for a Speak to Council session or for any City Council meeting, please call (585) 428-7421 or TDD/TTY (585) 428-6054 or email your request to by 4 p.m. on the Thursday prior to Council meeting day.

Other City Board and Commission Meetings

City Boards and Commissions afford all citizens with the opportunity to participate in governance and decision making at all levels of government. Sign language interpreting services for these meetings are arranged by contacting the particular board or commission. Those can be found here and here.

City Jobs and Civil Service Exams

The City of Rochester employs thousands of people who serve in several hundred occupations. City employees enjoy competitive pay, generous benefits and opportunities for advancement. 

Learn about all things City job-related here. 

Current job listings and Civil Service exams are located here.

Closed Captioning

All videos produced by the City, as well as the content on the City's government access television channel and the webcast and broadcast of City Council meetings are closed captioned.

Rochester Area Deaf Community Resources