Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Could a Landline Be Your Lifeline? - #ooma Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe This Summer

I received products in exchange for this post.  The opinions within this post are of my own.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

I've been working as a 911 Dispatcher for almost twelve years now.  It's a very demanding, yet rewarding, job.  In my employment I'm responsible, among many other things, for dispatching police, fire, sheriff, and ambulance agencies.  I'm also responsible for taking calls from the public and screening them for what emergency has occurred.

Although most people rely on cell phones when calling 911, I can personally vouch that it's not always a surefire way to communicate during emergencies.

Picture this: It's the end of July—smack in the middle of summer. Your kids are at home with a caretaker while you toil away at your 9 to 5. Then, disaster strikes. There's an emergency at home, and your kids have to call 911 for help.

Are your children calling from a cell phone or a landline? And does it make any difference? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. According to the latest data, if you don't have a landline in your home, it could be putting your children in grave danger.

Here's a shocking fact: According to an investigation by the USA Today the chances of 911 dispatchers being able to find you based on your cell phone's GPS can be as low as 10% in some parts of the country. With a significant share of cell phone-to-911 calls being placed from within residences—and 45% of Americans opting out of landline coverage at home—countless people are left vulnerable in emergencies. The question then becomes not why you should have a landline in the home, but why haven't you gotten one yet?

In the spirit of keeping you and your family safe, I recently partnered with Ooma - leading Internet home phone service with reliable E911 technology—to deliver three tips for keeping your home safe this summer in addition to owning a landline.  You can check out Ooma on their website, follow Ooma on Twitter, or visit the Ooma Facebook page for more information.

Whether it's for a small scrape or something far worse, it's always a good idea to have a first aid kit handy. People who call 911 from their cell phone are often surprised at how long emergency workers take to arrive on scene. According to the recent Ooma.com 911 Emergency Response Study, more than one in five cell phone callers feel it takes too long—that's seven times higher than for people who call from a landline. If you're often in situations when only a cell phone is available, consider keeping a first aid kit nearby.

TIP #2: WRITE AN EMERGENCY CONTACT LIST Make sure that no matter where you are, it's easy for the people around you to call your emergency contacts. Consider posting your own number, as well as first response numbers, on your fridge so your kids know how to reach you and your family, family members who live close by, or the authorities. Post the name and number of a trusted friend or neighbor, too. With Ooma's home phone system, up to three of these contacts can be notified by text message automatically when a 911 call is placed. In situations when every second counts, this reliable Internet-based technology could save tens of thousands of lives.

TIP #3: RECOGNIZE THE FIRST SIGNS OF DANGER Educate your kids about the sights, smells, and sounds of danger. If they hear a smoke alarm or see an appliance overheating, advise your children to get outside as quickly as possible. Planning an exit strategy is key to getting a safe distance away from the house so you can alert a neighbor and have them call the fire department. Consider making a detailed fire plan with multiple escape routes and keeping a printed copy of your fire plan on visible walls around your house.

For many people, money is understandably a legitimate concern—but when it comes down to it, we really can't put a price on ensuring that the people we love are safe. Luckily, first aid kits are both lightweight and budget-friendly, while the price of a secure Ooma landline pays for itself in just three months and costs less than a Netflix subscription on a monthly basis.

Got any 911 emergency stories of your own?
Do you own a landline or rely solely on a cell phone?
What are your thoughts on the Ooma home phone service?


Masshole Mommy said...

I haven't had a landline in about 10 years. My parents even just got rid of theirs after having that number for about a million years :)

Unknown said...

I haven't had a land line in about five years, but now you are making me think. Maybe I will check into OOma. Thanks
Deborah from Letsdishgirl

mail4rosey said...

I miss my landline. I was thinking I missed it because I can't fax, but the reasons you offered are even more important.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Cut off the landline in 2009. I do think about these things with having kids though.