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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Which Phone Should You Use In An Emergency - Landline or Cell Phone?

2/15/2021 (Permalink)

Photo shoes a landline and cell phone Which phone is best to use in an emergency? The answer is different than just a few years ago.

In the event of an emergency, most people know that they should call 911.  This patches us through to our local emergency responders who are dispatched to a specific location.  But with the introduction of cell phones into our daily lives in the 1980’s, a crinkle was added to the 911 dispatch system. 

Previously, all 911 calls coming from cell phones were automatically routed to the California Highway Patrol 911 dispatch centers, which overloaded the call centers and slowed down responses to potential victims.  Now cell phones use either GPS or cell tower triangulation so that a dispatch center can be identified and the call is routed to the proper location. 

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) does have jurisdiction over state freeways and handles emergency calls on these roadways.  So some cell calls made from city streets that are near a freeway will be routed to the CHP.

One way to ensure that a 911 operator can pinpoint your location is to use your landline to make a 911 call whenever possible.  A landline is plugged into a specific address, so an Emergency Response Team will know exactly where to respond. 

However, if you find yourself in an emergency situation and you only have your cell phone, use it to call 911.  Your call will be routed to an emergency response team who will send help to your location no matter how you place your call.

Remember, don't delay calling 911 in the event of an emergency.  The professionals who are answering the phone will find you help whether you are calling on a landline or a cell phone.  Reach out, call and stay safe.

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