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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Survival Communications–Don't Dump Your Landline Phone Service!

The other evening I was on a conference call where one of the participants couldn’t stay for the whole call. She lives in Louisville, KY, and was without power due to the recent winter storm. She had called on her cell phone and didn’t want to use all her battery power. Fortunately for her, she had access to a generator for recharging batteries, but she was being prudent.

Since then I’ve read a blog post from someone who said people in the hardest hit areas of Kentucky are complaining their cell phones don’t work. He’s an amateur radio operator endeavoring to coax his readers to become amateur radio operators proficient in emergency communications. While I think it’s a good idea to have as many “weapons” in your communications arsenal as possible, I know there are a lot of people who simply won’t take his advice. That’s fine. They don’t have to.

I hope, however, that people don’t completely dump their landline phone service. You can check out my previous comments on this here, as well as my thoughts on the benefits of having a phone card. To be honest, I don’t know if there is landline phone service in the areas hardest hit by the recent ice storm, but I suspect there may be landline service in some places where there isn’t cell phone service.

The other day I heard a news sound bite where a man who had been laid off work said he was going to dump his landline phone to save money. That’s a big mistake in my opinion. Is it more important to have the ability to call your wife from the grocery store aisle to ask what brand of chips to bring home, or to be able to call for help when there’s an emergency at home? Oh, sure, cell phones can be useful in emergencies, when they work.

As for economics, purchase the most basic plan possible for both cell and landline service. In fact, buy prepaid cell service. You’d be surprised how conscious you become of your minutes usage. If that sounds restrictive to your personal freedoms, remember we’re talking about priorities here. Once upon a time—not all that many years ago—we got along fine without cell phones altogether. One day we might not have phone service of any kind anywhere.

For now, don’t drop your landline service. Think survival.


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