TTY protocol refers to the use of unique abbreviations used to control the flow of conversation. The use of TTY protocols is critical to effective TTY communications.
Proper TTY protocol is critical to effective communications with persons who use TTYs to communicate. Call takers shall be trained to use proper protocol, agency policies shall mandate the use of proper protocols and call taker proficiency testing shall document whether the call taker demonstrated the proper use of TTY protocol.
Proper TTY protocol includes the following:
Go Ahead (GA)
The term GA is used to indicate that one person is through with their comments/questions and is waiting on a response from the other person. The term GA means "go ahead, it's your turn to talk."
Question (Q or QQ)
Tone of voice is not transmitted on a TTY, so it is necessary to type the letters QQ or Q when asking a question. GA is also added to solicit a response from the other person to questions.
Go Ahead Stop Keying (GA SK)
When getting ready to end the conversation, the appropriate protocol to use is to type GA SK, which literally means "go ahead and stop keying" which indicates that the person is ready to end the conversation. This is sometimes presented as GA to SK.
Stop Keying Stop Keying (SKSK)
SKSK literally means "stop keying, stop keying" but is used to indicate, "bye, I am hanging up now." This term officially ends a TTY conversation. Generally, a call taker will allow the TTY caller to conclude the conversation first. However, in extreme emergencies, a call taker may want to use SKSK for emphasis. If this is the case, the call taker shall NOT disconnect the TTY or turn it off but rather leave the line open in case the caller has something else to add. An example of a call taker using SKSK first would be after getting all pertinent information such as location from a caller who is reporting their house is on fire from within the structure. In order to stress the importance of the TTY user getting out of the house the call taker may elect to use SKSK first.
Error Message (XXXXX)
Spelling errors are common in TTY conversations. Instead of wasting time hitting the backspace key to correct the mistake, several X's are used to indicate an error and then the word or phrase is typed correctly. If the error is not critical there is no need to waste time trying to correct it.
Relevant NENA Documents
APCO/NENA ANS 3.105.1-2015, Minimum Training Standard for TDD/TTY Use in the Public Safety Communications Center