Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Preparing for the Unthinkable

We have neighbors just a few miles away from where I sit who have lost their homes to forest fires. In one city alone over 32,000 people have had to evacuate.  How did they know when to leave?  They were called, mostly by Reverse 911.  Considering that an average of 25% of the population have no home phone, what about those who have no wired phone at home?  AFAIK, they only way those occupants knew officially to pack up and leave was if they registered their wireless phone to that home address with the local 911 authority.  Have you done that?

I also watched as a cell tower on one of those mountain ridges was consumed in flames and wondered what happens to those people who have not yet evacuated?  What would you do if the cell site you needed was gone?  Just a few years ago, the local telco would set up banks of phones and give residents free voice mail to stay in touch.  Telcos can't do that for wireless-only users...we're on our own.

Think it through.  What would you do?  Would you include your cell phone among those possessions you'd grab when you run?  Think of the unthinkable: floods, wildfires, earthquakes, or even an nuclear or chemical accident.  Did you 'cut the cord?'  Maybe you'd rather not.  Consider how you'll be affected when the only warning comes from a Reverse 911.  I thought our family was covered with our basic landline until I realized we 'ported' our number from another area and we received an evacation notice from that faraway area.  Are we missing things that are happening in our own neighborhood?

You might not need to "do" something to be prepared, but you should at least consider, 'what would happen if...'  The unthinkable just happened here...are you next?

2 comments:

Ian said...

For what it's worth, CenturyLink set up a phone bank and offered free call forwarding to folks in Colorado Springs with the Waldo Canyon fire.

Bill Andrews said...

You are absolutely correct. The point I was making, but I now see I missed the mark, is that if you have a wireless-only home, first you need to register for 911 notifications, and 2nd, you won't have the problems people who depend on their landline have.