Friday, October 30, 2009

Old Phones: Good for 911?

Should we encourage, or even mention the idea of depending on a deactivated wireless phone for 911-only calls? When I was putting together the new Cellular For Seniors web site, I asked my colleagues for ideas, and used them all. One, however, has caused a big disagreement. They asked me to write about it because I sit pretty much in the middle.

Bill thinks keeping an old cellular phone charged and available for 911 calls is practical, and, in the case of some users like Seniors, a potential life-saver. Mike, on the other hand, says depending on a phone like that, especially for Seniors, is a bad idea. He claims it's a false security due to the fact that is probably a cast-off phone that the Senior has absolutely no experience operating. I agree with that somewhat because I have a brother-in-law who has a normal cellular phone that he often claims it has a dead battery when he actually can't figure out how to turn it on.

Bill states "it's better than nothing." A Senior, or any user with no cellular phone, is better off to have something, even if it has a less than 100% chance of working. In consideration of Mike's objections, I added to that part of the site that an old phone is not as reliable as one that is used often enough to know the basics. After all, light users like Seniors could keep a regular wireless phone for just a few dollars a month. Dare I say they're both right?

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