DENVER, July 17, 2006 - As emergencies heat up during the summer months, so do calls to 9-1-1, according to data collected in communities where Qwest is the 9-1-1 service provider.According to the National Emergency Number Association, an estimated 200 million calls are made to 9-1-1 in the U.S. each year - more than 500,000 daily. Yet, as people make 9-1-1 calls, many are unaware of the life-saving benefits of having a landline phone at home for reliability and accurate emergency response.
Getting the 4-1-1 on 9-1-1
July 17 kicks off the "Connect for Summer Safety" initiative, an effort led by Qwest and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing emergency communications. NENA and Qwest will work together to promote public safety by creating awareness of the importance of maintaining landline home phone service and keeping a non-cordless phone for emergency preparedness.
When a 9-1-1 call is made using a landline phone in an enhanced 9-1-1 service area, the dispatch center automatically receives the caller's address - saving time and sometimes lives.Although the Federal Communications Commission recently issued a mandate requiring that cellular phone callers' location information be made available to emergency responders, this system has yet to be fully deployed. As a result, callers who use a cellular phone to call 9-1-1 today may be less likely to be rapidly and accurately located in an emergency. And during power outages, which often occur in the summer months as a result of blackouts from high consumption of energy or electrical storms, cordless or Internet phones may not function.
"Other phone technologies provide great benefits for mobility and features, but consumers need to know that a landline remains a necessity for the most reliable, effective access to emergency-response services from home," says Robert Martin, executive director for NENA.
How Connected Are We?
A national survey by Impulse Research reveals that there are many summer-specific safety concerns that would cause most Americans to dial 9-1-1 during these peak months.Topping the list of most-often cited reasons to call 9-1-1 are drowning in backyard pools (87 percent) and children sustaining injuries falling from trees (71 percent).
According to the survey, 14 percent of Americans today have given up or never installed
landline service in their homes, and 22 percent use only their cell phone to place or receive calls. This is despite the fact that nearly 40 percent of callers say their cell phone occasionally receives poor reception if they are indoors and nearly 25 percent admit their cell phone battery is often low.
Two-thirds of respondents did not feel that it is important to have a non-cordless landline phone to make 9-1-1 calls in case of a power outage. But should the power go out it may be impossible to recharge a cell phone or use a cordless phone, both of which rely on electricity.
"Every home should have at least one non-cordless landline phone so 9-1-1 calls can still be made if the power goes out," says Martin.
When asked to choose from a list of emergencies that would prompt them to call 9-1-1 during the summer, respondents said:
- Robberies, burglaries and break-ins both at home (nearly 90 percent) and at a neighbor's home (88 percent)
- Serious falls during home repairs (87 percent)
- Heat stroke or dehydration (70 percent)
- Serious reactions to bee or wasp stings (64 percent)
- Injuries from fireworks (50 percent)
- Barbecue grill burns (29 percent)
"Qwest is committed to ensuring that all families have access to potentially life-saving 9-1-1 service," said Amador Lucero, vice president of network operations at Qwest Communications."Qwest is proud to partner with NENA to help optimize emergency-preparedness and response and provide tips for making it a safe summer."
For more information about the Connect for Summer Safety initiative, including additional summer safety statistics and advice on when to call 9-1-1, visit www.qwest.com.
NENA's Mission is to foster the technological advancement, availability and implementation of a universal emergency telephone number system (9-1-1). In carrying out its mission, NENA promotes research, planning, training and education. The protection of human life, the preservation of property, and the maintenance of general community security are among NENA's objectives
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), through its operating subsidiaries, is a leading provider of high-speed Internet, data, video and voice services. With nearly 40,000 employees, Qwest is committed to the "Spirit of Service" and providing world-class services that exceed customers' expectations for quality, value and reliability. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at www.qwest.com.