Thursday, July 21, 2016

3 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe This Summer

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.


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 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.  


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.


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?  I wouldn't be surprised.  In the past five years alone, over a quarter of Americans have called 911 with a cell phone, and in that group, there were many dissatisfied callers.  If you've got a story you'd feel comfortable sharing, I'd love to hear about them!  Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  1. These are great tips. Thanks for the reminder about the importance of having a landline.

  2. This is totally awsome I gotta remember these tips

  3. This is totally awsome I gotta remember these tips

  4. Great blog! Very serious subject that all families should discuss.

  5. This is good info. At my complex, a woman had an operation, and then was home. Someone called her and she didn't answer, so they called 911. They came and broke the door down, and she was out shopping, to come home and find this. Then they billed her $500. If you are home ill, you should let your loved ones know if you are starting to go out on your own, so they won't be worried you've had something happen to you that you are not answering!

  6. Thank you...I will do all three of these actions immediately

  7. I don't think I will ever get rid of my landline even if I just use it for emergencies.

  8. These are some great tips. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Ive always had a landline phone and can't see going without. I've heard of Ooma but had not idea they would text someone when 911 is called. very cool.

  10. WOW! I was not aware of these statistics at all. Our family has a landline and have no plans of getting rid of it. We have DSL so we need it for the internet, but we still make the majority of our calls on it. This just reinforces my belief in always having one.

  11. Great tips! I have always had a landline. There are too many power outages here so a landline (with a corded phone) is essential. I remember back in 2008 when Hurricane Ike hit I was without power for 2 weeks and had I not had a landline I wouldn't have been able to locate food and water as well as being able to contact the power company and family. Call phones were useless at that time. So I will never be without a landline.

  12. I am glad my girls are adults.Can not afford a land line in this area of Kitchener.BELL and ROGERS charge over 100 dollars a month and sometimes bill you 4-5 in one month.There is no way to get your money back.I wish the government here would get rid of these awful monoplies!

  13. I really like these tips. I have all of them except the first aid kit. I have one in the car but not the house. I will soon though!