A recent National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) revealed that nearly two in five American homes (38.2%) are wireless-only users. And the number keeps growing.
What about you? Is it time to retire your home’s fixed-line relic?
Conventional phones may seem as vintage as your father’s eight-track player. Still, during emergencies, POTS (plain old telephone sets) are generally more reliable than wireless. They are flexible, easy to use and always on.
As American Red Cross disaster volunteers learned during the dark, powerless days of Hurricane Sandy, cell phones are often useless when they are most needed.
In the North Texas region, tornado outbreaks frequently occur during the spring and summer months. A funnel’s path of destruction is generally more limited than a hurricane’s. Still, during such extreme weather events, cell towers often jam with traffic as family and friends check on their loved ones.
I was raised in Dallas but now live in New Mexico, where I serve as chief executive officer of Peñasco Valley Telephone Cooperative (PVT). At PVT, our team provides telephone services to customers in both populated and remote regions of southeast New Mexico. During the winter months, our customers often experience ice storms, which cause trees to freeze and fall, taking out power lines. Though our customers may have to throw an extra log on the fire, their analog telephones - which don’t require AC power - will work.
Concerning security, it’s hard to beat the landline phone. Suppose you hear someone breaking into your house? The time it takes to find your cell phone could complicate an already serious situation. And what if the cell phone’s battery is dead?
When calling 911 with a cell phone, emergency dispatchers can’t always quickly pinpoint the call’s location. Contrast this with the fixed-line phone. Once a user dials 911, the emergency dispatcher’s computer screen automatically displays the phone’s address. This could be critical for children, babysitters, and even adults during an emergency. Not knowing one’s address, or losing the ability to speak, could mean the loss of precious minutes -- or worse.
In summary, think carefully about losing your lowly landline. Fixed-line phones connect to the traditional, twisted-copper networks. Built as public utilities, these networks are the workhorses of telecommunications. They may be old-fashioned, but they’re tough and reliable.
When the wind howls and the lights flicker, a landline phone will add to your peace of mind.
For more tips on emergency preparedness, contact the American Red Cross website at www.redcross.org/prepare. Safety information is also available on Facebook.com/RedCrossDFW and Twitter @RedCrossDFW.
Glenn Lovelace is the chief executive officer of Penasco Valley Telephone Cooperative (PVT), a company that provides telephone services to customers in Southeast New Mexico. Born and raised in Dallas, Lovelace has contributed his vision and leadership to companies ranging from startups to Fortune 100s. He has been published in a number of publications and quoted in books and articles that include The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Red Herring. Lovelace earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Dallas and an MBA from Harvard University. He and his wife currently reside in Artesia, New Mexico. For more information about PVT’s products and services, visit the company’s Website at www.pvt.com or contact a representative at 1.800.505.4844.