The incredible technology we have these days can sometimes cause problems because the simplest of considerations have not been addressed. Many cable companies are now offering internet-based telephone service. It is much cheaper than the traditional land lines (cooper wire). But in the case of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) there are some pitfalls. In the case of VOIP, the cable company does not know where you are located. You must first register your home address with them and have your 911 service associated with that address. It is just the way the system works right now. If you don’t, it can cause problems.
According to the Sun Sentinel news report, an 81 year old woman was preparing for Thanksgiving with her family in 2009 when a piece of the crystal she was using fell on her foot, cutting her and causing severe bleeding. Reiner dialed zero on her phone and spoke to a Comcast operator, who according to the suit, transferred her to the local police dispatcher, but she was unable to speak clearly and give him her address.
The suit alleges the emergency call was disconnected. The dispatcher asked the Comcast operator for Reiner’s address but the operator could not locate it. The AP reports it took 16 minutes to find Reiner’s address and for paramedics to arrive at her home. The Palm Beach County Fire Rescue records reportedly show the paramedics arrived to a silent and locked house and left, after deciding the call was “unfounded.”
This is an unfortunate incident that could have been avoided had the person had a personal emergency response solution (PERS).
Typically, a medical alert system will connect to a response center which knows who you are and where you live. This information along with other information (allergies, contact info for family members, medications, location of extra keys to the house) is kept on file. When you make a call, that information is at the fingertips of the responder and they do not have to ask for it. In the case of this poor woman, standard protocol would have automatically (within minutes) dispatched emergency services even if the person could not communicate with the responder. Most times, the location of a lock box or key holder is also on file and would be communicated to the EMS response team. This would have avoided the extreme delay and probably have saved her life.
If he were asked, the husband of this poor woman would have gladly agreed to pay a couple of dollars a day to have prevented this tragedy.
A medical alert system isn’t just for “old people who fall.” It serves a valuable service whenever there is an accident in the home.[signature]