Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Why You Should Think Twice Before Disconnecting Your Landline


This is an inexpensive landline telephone.   Wal-Mart sells these for under ten dollars.


           Of course, all of us are looking for ways to shave operating costs from our households, if just to have extra cash for preps.   Although I can certainly understand the choice to economize or to disconnect cable or dish, I have great reservations for most people in terms of permanently disconnecting their home's landline.

                   In the US, Canada and in many other places in the world, when we call 911 (or 999 in some other countries) from our landline,  the dispatcher instantly sees the address location on screen.  If you call and tell the dispatcher that you are hiding in a closet and that someone has just entered your home, they will know where to send the police.   If you call 911, and tell them, "I'm doing CPR, please come !" they will.  However, this is not true from a cellular phone.  When you call for help from a cellular phone, the number and often the name of the caller comes up, but no address is provided.   You may have to take the extra step of providing an address when you have little time to do so, or worse,  when for some reason, you can't speak  If the dispatcher does not hear clearly the number you said then essential time is lost stopping at the wrong address. Although it is possible to triangulate a location from a cellular phone, this is by no means an automatic process, and the police may, or may not be able to do this for you, depending upon the type of phone you have, and your location.   Police friends of mine have indicated that sometimes, it is not at all possible to obtain an address location from a cellular phone, depending upon the location.

                 In addition, in a grid down emergency, the battery back up at the cell phone tower will work for only a few hours to a day, leaving you with no communication in a widespread outage.  A landline provides an extra means of communication, and if you have a landline which on each floor, is connected directly to a phone outlet, it will work even during power outages, because the small amount of power needed to power the phone, even during an outage, is provided with phone service..   Cordless phones are notorious for not working during power outages.  In the area in which I live most people have cordless phones as landlines.  When the power goes out, no one can report the outage.  Therefore, in our own very rural area, we are often the only ones reporting an outage. Others simply cannot.

        In communications, and in all types of preparedness, you should layer your preps

                  The best way of preparing for emergencies is by layering preparations.   Therefore, the best way of layering communications is to have a landline phone.   You should have a corded phone on each level of your home in order to make calls during power outages.   You should also have at least one cordless phone which would enable you to bring communications outside your home or to an outbuilding during a medical or other emergency.   It's certainly been helpful for me to being a cordless phone down to the barn, on occasion.   You should also have a cellular phone, even if it is a pay-as-you-go plan, in the event that you need to communicate with someone when you are en route, or away from your home, or camping.   You don't need to have phones with internet access, or smart phones, although these are nice to have.  You do need to have a layered strategy of basic communications for your home.     You also need to have the phone numbers of your family members written somewhere other than the phones themselves, in the event that in an emergency, the phones, or one in particular, malfunctions or is lost.  Of course, having a HAM radio in addition, and having a technicians level license or higher is also an excellent idea in terms of emergency communication preparations.

                 Rather than disconnecting your landline, call your phone company and ask how much a very basic landline for low use costs in your area.   In some areas, a low use line especially designed for people with medical issues can be had for twelve dollars a month.    Some companies offer a measured use rate of seventeen dollars a month.   Such lines may not be enabled to call coast to coast, but they will get 911.   A lot of local phone companies will become quite flexible when you indicate that you are considering shutting down your landline entirely.

                  Preparedness is about living prepared,  frugally and safely, and for teaching your children to do the same.