Should You Keep A Landline Phone For Emergencies?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - In Florida, just about all cell phone service is gone, for now. People are communicating by using satellite phones.

There is one other way, about as technologically up-to-date, as a typewriter. 

It's called a landline, and some people still have one of these in their homes.

Betsy Williford says she's got one. "I have a landline and I do have a cell phone," she says. "I like the security of having a landline." 

Most people like to keep it simple with just one phone. "I have a cell phone," says Keith Burdette of Memphis. "I don't have a landline anymore."

Hurricane Irma has smacked the life out of cell phone service for most areas of Florida.

It's unusual,even during Hurricane Katrina, there was cell phone service. Spotty, hard to get, but it was there.

Raymond Chiozza is the Director of the Shelby County 911 District.  "I can understand Florida," he says.  "The towers are probably designed to withstand the winds. Probably at this point the diesel fuel generators associated with the towers are running out of fuel, and it may be they're having difficulty bringing fuel to them at this point."

Chiozza walked us through the new Memphis Police dispatchers headquarters.

The overwhelming majority of calls that will come in here will come from cell phones he says. "Having a landline still gives the automatic location and subscriber information to the 911 call taker," says Chiozza, "... so its still the best with a landline, but that's lost. I mean, 70 to 80% of our calls are coming in by cell phone to the 911 dispatch center in Shelby County."

Chiozza refuses to recommend people get a landline. But he has one, and several others emergency responders we spoke with have one as well. 


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