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Don’t Count on Cell Phone in Emergencies


One of the arguments against having a medical alert system is that you do not need one; after all, you have a cell phone. The thinking is if you fall or suffer a medical emergency, you could always reach into your pocket and call 911. Well, think again.

cell dialer

ABC News recently told the story of a North Carolina woman whose husband collapsed at home. She called 911 on her cell phone, but the dispatcher was not able to pinpoint her location because a cell phone tower in a neighboring county picked up the call.

“I spent too much time focusing on what my address was, and not enough time being beside my husband trying to perform CPR,” Alison Vroome said.

Despite a rescue squad headquartered a mile from her house, it took 10 minutes for EMTs to arrive. Sadly, it was too late, and Alison’s husband died.

“I feel 911 failed me, not EMS or fire,” Vroome said. “I feel like there has to be a better way for citizens anywhere throughout the state or county to expect that their call goes to the correct location.”

There is indeed a better way, and it is called a medical alert system. When you press that emergency button on your medical pendant or home base, the dispatcher will know exactly where you are. There will be no confusion. Help will arrive promptly, perhaps avoiding a similar tragedy that has befallen that North Carolina widow.

One more thing about cell phones — what makes you so sure you will be able to dial 911 at all? A fall could potentially leave you unable to reach the pocket in which your cell phone usually resides. Or a stroke could leave half of your body paralyzed, so either you could not reach the phone or you could not dial correctly. And in a panicked or diminished state , you might not be able to tell the 911 dispatcher where you live.

This would not happen with a medical alert system. All you would have to do is press the big button on your pendant, which is easily accessible around your neck or wrist.

Cell phones are a great thing; they have revolutionized the world. But when it comes to calling 911, there are more reliable options out there. For many people, the best one is a medical alert system.

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