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Cell Phone & 911

by jmsfmtex / October 14, 2009 2:04 AM PDT

I do not have, nor do I want, a cell phone. Now that I have said that I would like to have one for emergency use (911) purposes. I do not know of any device, besides a cell phone, that would allow me to call 911. So I would like to have one, without any services, just in case I need to contact 911. I have 3 or 4 older models but would like to upgrade just in case the older models are no longer functional for the current connections. Would someone recommend one for this purpose?

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Time to do a little research.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 14, 2009 3:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Cell Phone & 911
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You may already have one that works fine to call 911
by Pepe7 / October 14, 2009 5:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Cell Phone & 911

What are the makes/model numbers? A CDMA handset would probably be your best choice since that system is a long way from being replaced per se. In any case, we need to know what you have to know which one works. There's also the issue of the legalities of testing it out without there actually being an emergency. In this case I'd call the local non-emergency number (usually, 311) to see what they recommend for the non-user cell phone owner for emergency purposes.

hth,
Pedro

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Cell Phone & 911
by billcuff / October 16, 2009 10:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Cell Phone & 911

All cell phones have to be able to make a 911 call regardless of there being an active plan with a service provider. Does not make a difference if it is CDMA, GSM, 3G, 4G etc. The phone just needs to be able to power up and "see" a tower. A GSM handset will need a SIM chip. Keep in mind, that these handsets are really "radios" not "phones" in the traditional idea of a telephone. Far too many people purchased cell phones for emergencies and left them in the glove compartment of their automobile only to find out that the unit did not work when needed because the handset had no power due to a drained battery. These were called "glovebox" phones by people in the industry.

If you do not want to commit to a two year plan with a wireless company then consider buying a handset and use prepaid wireless cards that are available just about everywhere.

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The OP may have a car charger already
by Pepe7 / October 16, 2009 11:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Cell Phone & 911

You do bring up a great point about a non-regular user forgetting about the phone in the glove box and losing battery power though. Even if the handset battery is dead, it won't matter as much if they can simply use A/C (if home) or a car charger to squeeze in the 911 call.

Frankly though, it doesn't sound like the OP is tolerant enough of cell phones to even go prepaid ;).

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my mistake
by Pepe7 / January 11, 2010 10:48 AM PST
In reply to: Cell Phone & 911

I had forgotten that particular model has no memory card slot ;(.

You probably cannot mess with one of the sections if it at all impacts the ROM it shipped with.

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try dialing "0"
by porsche10x / October 18, 2009 2:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Cell Phone & 911

As mentioned, any old cellphone that works on a currently available network is supposed to be able to dial 911. Here's a way you can test the cellphone without making a nuisance call to 911. I can't promise this will work with every phone, but I have done it successfully with old unserviced phones before. Turn on the phone and dial operator. Here's a secret that few use. If you want to have a cellphone for NON-emergencies that you RARELY use, here's something that's even cheaper than prepaid. Just turn on the phone, call operator, and place a credit card call. Yes, that's right. You can "pay-as-you-go" on the spot with your credit card. No plan, no prepaid card, no nothing. Now, you will be charged an ungodly amount of money for the call, but if you want the phone for only rare occurrences, this is still cheaper than any prepaid plan. Even if it's $10 per minute, you don't have to worry about cards that expire, or some minimum monthly fee, or minimum number of minutes to purchase. You can keep the phone for five years, make one single phone call, then it works out to, what, fifteen cents a month?

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Starting to go off reservation a little
by Pepe7 / October 18, 2009 8:53 AM PDT
In reply to: try dialing "0"

The dial '0' scenario only works if you maintain a prepaid/postpaid account. Not having a cell phone plan was the basic premise of the OP's inquiry. What you are describing used to work back in analog/TDMA days but no longer is plausible. You only have access to 911 with a phone that does not have current postpaid/prepaid service.

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