Removing landlines from home popular but risky - WNCN: News, Weather

Removing landlines from home popular but risky

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. - The last time Jacksonville resident William Hodges had a landline home phone, he was in high school.

"It just seems like something that started to fade out," Hodges said. "Irrelevant."

He and his family chose not to buy a landline and instead use their cell phones.

"You always have your cell phone on you," Hodges said. "Mine's always charged."

He's not the only one. The U.S. Census Bureau finds one in three homes across the country are just like William's home by choosing the convenience of a cell phone.

However, Pitt County's 911 communications manager Sam Tyson said there's a potentially lifesaving difference when you dial 911 on a landline.

"A landline gives us the address," Tyson said. "The cell phone gives us the latitude and longitude. You must give us your address."

There are two potential issues when 911 receives a caller's coordinates. One is those coordinates may not be the caller's exact location rather the location of the cell tower receiving the call. The second issue is if the caller's in a dense area like an apartment complex.

"We're not going to have any idea which building you're in or which apartment you're in," Hodges said. "That's why you've got to give us an address."

It's a problem if you have young children like Hodges who may not know their address. It's another reason why he's thinking about buying a landline.

"I hear stories on the news about a three-year-old kid that was taught to dial 911," Hodges said. "It just seems a little safer. It's always there."
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