Lifeline button, wired phone line, & Verizon strike-aternatives?

ericasjAugust 11, 2011

My mother has had a Philips Lifeline system for several years, and we've been happy with it. However, it requires a working landline to operate. Unfortunately, her phone line went out just before Verizon went on strike. She's been 6 days so far without her landline and medical alert coverage. Her appointment was for yesterday but nobody came, and when I talked to a guy at Verizon he couldn't even give me a ballpark figure as to when someone might get there. She does have a cell phone, but she's not used to using it to receive calls, and I'm afraid the longer this goes on, the more stressed out she'll be, and the less able she'd be to use it in an emergency.

Anyway, I googled around and found a medical alert system that works on the cell phone system instead of wired phone lines. They say they are the only such system out there. It also works outside the home, and uses GPS to report where someone has pushed the button. At least I hope it only uses the GPS when the button has been pushed--I'd hate for her to be tracked everywhere, and her house robbed while someone knows she's out!

I've never heard of them. Anybody have experience with them?

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Because it is an medical emergency, check with both the company and the medical staff to see what federal requirements are. Many times they override the breakdowns. I known here if we have a power shortage, over so many hours, our electric company will see we have a generator (we have one). Call Verizon, and talk to a supervisor, and remind him/her of the medical issues and tell them you expect repair ASAP. Also talk to the medical staff involved. Sometimes a Dr. will get more than you and I.
Hope it works our.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 12:56PM
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Thanks, Marie. I've tried calling Verizon and haven't been able to get through to a live person. I did get a message from them saying the earliest they can come now is next Thursday. I tried calling back the number showing on my cellphone, but it was for some kind of voicemail center I couldn't get into. I also called Lifeline to see if they had any advice--they said the same as you.

At this point I think I'm going to contact our state Board of Public Utilities to see if they can go to bat for us. Will also call her dr. tomorrow and see if anything can be done.

In the meantime, I ordered the thing I mentioned in my first post, out of desperation. It should arrive Monday. When we have it hooked up, I'll report back.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 10:22PM
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I typed in "Verizon Strike" & it is really nasty, workers are cutting their own lines so you can check it out yourself. You might have to get a prepaid phone for her so she could call for help if she can't get her p[hone fixed. I know a bunch of people are heading that way from here on Sun. to repair lines so since I know some, hope they will be safe. Hope no one is hurt or killed. When you start taking away folks lively-hood they can get very out of control, especially when bosses are making soooo much money!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 2:25AM
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If your mom has cable for television you can ask them to bundle her phone over the cable system. This would be a VOIP connection through the Internet and her medical alert system would work just fine unless there is a power outage longer than the cable modems back up battery.

I know the crisis has probably already passed but it might be a good back up for you.

The GPS systems at this point are not too reliable.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 7:28PM
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Person that was back there said that cell phones often don't work as the satellite (or what ever they are called-look like "trees" out here & all over) anyway they require electricity or they won't work, a land line is more likely to work then cell phone in disaster. I could use my phone both '71 & 93 quakes. In '71 you had to pick up phone & wait quite a while for dial tone & had better luck calling Midwest than local. After Katrina people had better luck on computers then phones. It's crazy in disasters! I called church in LA & she was surprised I got through when she couldn't call her home!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 1:46AM
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Just yesterday A T & T was down all over So. Ca. as their "towers" lost electricity so if all you had was a cell phone you were out of luck, couldn't even call 911 if you were having heart attack. They got most of it fixed today but I think some are still without. Took out 900 towers , I think they said. There is 1 a block from me. We tried to find out if they give off radiation or anything harmful but couldn't get a response.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 1:29AM
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