Pacheco, California (EastBayDaily) — Recent natural disasters have disrupted mobile communication for days, prompting medical alert system expert Alan Wu to warn in a recent blog post about the danger of relying on cell phone communication during medical emergencies. While cell phones are useful tools for a number of tasks, Wu explains that a cellular connection just isn't as precise or reliable as a landline.
A Marketing Manager for Bay Alarm Medical, Wu assists family members worried about the health and welfare of senior relatives living at home. Bay Alarm Medical is an arm of Bay Alarm, one of the nation's oldest alarm monitoring companies. The company offers one-button medical alert systems for seniors, together with around-the-clock monitoring by professionally trained emergency operators.
Bay Alarm Medical's alert systems use landlines for communication because they're more reliable than cell phones, Wu notes. "If we at Bay Medical were to buy an alert system for ourselves or a family member, it would always be through a regular landline. We would never trust cellular coverage during an emergency."
Wu points to recent weather events where large numbers of customers lost access to mobile communications. When Hurricane Sandy knocked out power across many states, cellular services were out for days in some places. That may happen with the next storm too: Bloomberg News reported that cellular providers have resisted regulations to make their grids more reliable.
Cellular customers faced similar problems during the massive spring tornado outbreak in the Midwest and South in 2011. In Alabama, many cell towers were destroyed by storms, forcing Verizon to send portable towers to the state. Reuters reported that Joplin, MO faced much the same situation after a massive tornado hit the city and knocked out 17 cell towers.
During these disasters, Wu explains, landline service was more stable and reliable. "A corded landline connection works even if your power is out. For added safety, customers should use an alarm system that has a battery backup."
Power outages and cell service interruptions aren't the only concerns. Emergency operators don't know who is calling and may have problems pinpointing a person's location when 911 calls are made via cell phone. The operator has to collect name and address information, interview the caller about the patient's condition and medical history, then relay that information to emergency responders.
Rapid response and accurate information is critical to good patient outcomes. That's why many families install home medical alert monitoring systems for their senior relatives, Wu continues. "When a client has an emergency, operators notify emergency personnel and transmit medical information in less time than it would take you to dial your cell phone and give your name and address to the dispatcher".
Seniors can – and do – rely on cell phones for many everyday tasks, but a home landline adds an extra layer of safety and security.
About Bay Alarm Medical Bay Alarm Medical is an arm of Bay Alarm, one of the nation's oldest alarm monitoring companies. The company offers high quality medical alert systems together with 24/7 monitoring by professionally training emergency operators who contact family members, friends, neighbors and, if necessary, local 911 emergency services. The service is available across the U.S. For more information, visit their web site at http://www.bayalarmmedical.com.
Bay Alarm Medical