Why getting rid of your wired telephone may not be wise

By Scott Reynolds

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- Many people are now using their cell phone as their home phone and cutting the cord with the land line. Verizon did a survey recently and 14 percent of land line users said they were considering pulling the plug within a year. But is that really a good idea? As WAVE 3's Scott Reynolds reports, there are questions about safety.

Bethany Childress could not wait to go totally wireless and dump her traditional land line.

"One day I was going through my bill and they were charging me long distance and I didn't ever use the phone at all," she said.

But there was one big problem -- her home security system was tied into her land line.

"Gosh, it's just really basic instinct for a mom to want to protect her kids," said Bethany.

At Dallas Fire-Rescue, they'll tell you there's good reason for concern.

"We know exactly where you are," says Sherrie Lopez of Dallas Fire-Rescue. "We're still coming. We're still on your way."

If you decide to ditch your land line and use your cell phone in a crisis, you better know exactly what to tell the 911 operators. The very first words out of your mouth need to be your location."

Tracing a cell phone signal depends on the type of wireless 911 service in your area. Phase one service only reveals the tower that transmitted your call, which could be miles from your location. Phase two service is much more accurate within a few hundred feet. But a few hundred feet can be huge in a crisis especially someplace like an apartment complex.

As for security systems, Bethany found one that ties into her computer DSL line. By coincidence, this one is made by the parent company of NBC, GE.

She also makes sure her cell phone is charged and within reach -- always. And Bethany says she will never have a land line again.

"I actually wish I had done it several years ago," Bethany said.

Here's one more thing to consider, make sure any cordless system has sufficient battery backup power. Cordless phones will also be dead, but a phone plugged directly into a land line wall jack should work just fine.

Online Reporter: Scott Reynolds

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway