Remember cell phone systems do tend to get overloaded during an emergency as cell towers try to locate all the cell phones accessing the system and reach cell phone users.
AT&T and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) released survey findings showing the need for households to establish home emergency communications plans that include a "home base" with a corded landline phone in addition to a cell phone for making emergency calls.
The findings show that while eight in ten respondents recognize the importance of having both a corded landline and cell phone in their home for use in emergencies, 68 percent do not have a comprehensive plan for dealing with home emergencies.On their website they have a list of reasons to keep a landline:
- You can't put a price on peace of mind -Your home phone is worth more than ever with service plans to fit any budget.
- You'll never be alone in the dark - Know where to find a reliable connection even when the power goes out.
- For that time you discovered you were allergic to peanuts - When you need it most in an emergency, 911 responders can know your exact location.
- You'll never get disconnected with grandma - For the calls that matter the most.
- For when you "work" from home - With a reliable connection, your home phone line can also be your fax line.
- You need a way to call your cell phone when you lose it - Never miss an important call.
- Your security system needs to be hooked up to something - Unmatched peace of mind knowing you're connected even in an emergency.
- It's better than having the whole family on speakerphone - Every person in the household can be on the phone at the same time.
The survey of 2,000 households in June was commissioned to measure respondents' level of emergency planning and provide insight into their communications preparedness. It found that many households recognize the importance of having several options to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency and have taken some basic steps to prepare themselves and family members for emergencies. However, most households have not implemented a detailed plan to ensure all members of the household are adequately prepared to contact emergency services and maintain communications with each other.
"More than ever, families need to be prepared for emergencies. Parents and other heads of households must be proactive in educating family members - especially children - about what to do in these situations," said NENA Chief Executive Officer, Brian Fontes. "A big part of this is knowing about the options available for dialing 9-1-1. The more choices you have to reach 9-1-1 in an emergency, the better, and a corded landline phone should be one of those options. It provides the security of a home phone line connection to 9-1-1 so that in most cases first responders know your home address."
Key findings from the survey include:
- 80 percent felt that it is important to have both a corded landline and a cell phone in their home in case of emergency because it provides options to dial 9-1-1 reliably and quickly.
- 54 percent of those who said they have a landline in their home are not prepared with a corded phone to use in the event of a power outage. Corded landline phones that do not require a/c power for dial tone also work even when the power is out, an important contingency to build into home emergency plans.
- 68 percent of respondents do not have a comprehensive communications plan in place to deal with home emergencies. A home emergency communications plan includes establishing a "home base" for making emergency calls with a centrally located, easily accessible landline phone; designating a safe location within the home during an emergency and establishing a safe way out of the residence; conducting an inventory of communications items including all landline phones, wireless phones, batteries, and chargers; and making a list of emergency contact numbers. For households with children, additional elements include teaching them about proper use of the 9-1-1 system and making sure they know where the "home base" is for making calls to emergency services.
- 42 percent of respondents with children ages 3-12 were only somewhat confident or not confident that their child would know what to do in case of a home emergency.
- 27 percent of respondents' children have not received instruction on how to dial 9-1-1 from home base during an emergency.
"At AT&T, we understand how important communications services are during an emergency, and our priority is to provide customers with reliable services and multiple options to stay in contact," said Joey Schultz, AT&T vice president consumer marketing. "At home, a landline phone can serve as their reliable 'home base' in an emergency, and it can give consumers added peace of mind at an affordable price."