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911 - Cell Phones
Old 05-10-2013, 06:27 AM   #1
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911 - Cell Phones

For younger persons who are accustomed to carrying cell phones with them 24/7 this will not be important, but for dinosaurs like myself or those who do not commonly carry cellphones, free 911 service could be a lifesaver.

This link goes to an explanation of how "free 911 cellphone service works":

9-1-1 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Since we do very little calling, we have the lowest price, minimum minutes cellphone plan, and rarely use it. That said, we DO have two cars, and have the normal concerns of the elderly... "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" In a 2BR/2BA home, reaching the phone could be a problem.

Since we had several unused cellphones, here's what we're doing. Deactivated cellphones (that still work for 911: see the wiki link) in each bath and in both cars. A "first of the month "charge-all" day... and an understanding of what information must be given to the 911 operator (see the wiki article).

A few thoughts on the alternatives... We had a branded pendant type autodialer for use in the home, but it was complicated to set up and use and dialed up to four numbers automatically, (which meant that the receiving numbers had to understand how it worked)... Theoretically, the "emergency" person could talk to the central phone and hear the person at the other end, but this didn't work well, either.

Our home is set up with a string pull in each room for emergency service, but the service center was incompetent, and the non-service did not warrant the $35/mo. charge. (YMMV)

This is not new, and most members here may already be using the free emergency 911 cell phone service. For reminder purposes only, and perhaps a suggestion for aging parents or relatives.

Link to an organization that collects and distributes used cell phones.
Secure the Call | Donate Used Cell Phones for Seniors and Abused Women

Any thoughts... positive or negative, or suggestions for use of the 911 service, are welcome.

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Old 05-10-2013, 09:08 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Since we had several unused cellphones, here's what we're doing. Deactivated cellphones (that still work for 911: see the wiki link) in each bath and in both cars. A "first of the month "charge-all" day... and an understanding of what information must be given to the 911 operator (see the wiki article).
Personally, I think this is a very simple and elegant solution to a very real problem. So, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your approach.

I am not sure why I had not thought of this use for my drawer full of old cell phones myself. But, the fact is that I had not.

If there's one thing in my life that's missing; It's the time I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear waters; There's lots of those friendly people
Showin me ways to go; And I never want to lose your inspiration
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:51 AM   #3
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Some good ideas, thanks for sharing your thoughts and how you set this up to work in your life. This is a great idea for old cell phones.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:55 PM   #4
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Speaking as someone who actually suffered a stroke about a year and a half ago, I'd like to make the following point:

I was able to reach my cell phone and had it in my hand when found. I wasn't able to see/operate the keyboard. Was only found when my brother got nosey and looked in the window when I wasn't answering the land line.

I've since purchased one of those "fallen and I can't get up" buttons to wear around my neck. Would like to think I'd have had the wherewithal to have at least pressed a button.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:50 PM   #5
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As you point out, just make sure that the batteries are charged when "that day" comes.

Might want to just keep the house ones plugged into the wall socket all the time -- especially the wall sockets that are near to the floor (ie bedrooms etc).

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Old 05-10-2013, 11:20 PM   #6
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My day job has included working with E911 systems. In a perfect world a modern active account cellphone will report its location fairly precisely. Unfortunately it's not uncommon for 911 centers to only receive tower information which consists of what cell site and which antenna (side of tower) the call came in on. Furthermore, we often can't call back a deactivated cell phone in the event we're disconnected.

In an emergency, if you're unable to speak clearly to tell the call taker your address or name, you may not get the emergency service you need in time.

I've kept a landline (OOMA-VoIP) to ensure proper 911 functions even though we all have cell phones. We rarely use the house line to make phone calls. I've had to call 911 twice in the past couple years for an elderly relative and it worked as intended.

I'd suggest considering if the risks are worth the savings. You can get VoIP or Cell 'home phone' service for $15 or less a month.

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