Having telephone service a must during power outages

Landline telephones can be a life-saver in certain situations

Landline telephones can be a life-saver in certain situations

KINGMAN – Losing phone communication during local storms is an occasional occurrence, so it doesn’t hurt to have a back-up.

Summer thunderstorms and winter winds can knock out powerlines, leaving homes without electricity, cable television and internet. Telephone land lines for the most part are highly dependable, even when normal power is out. Cellphones are more dependable and nearly everyone has one these days. However, many older and rural customers depend on landlines as their primary means of communication. Even with a cell phone, service may be spotty or non-existent.

Elderly Valle Vista resident Kim Gains was especially concerned when his Frontier landline went down during rainstorms in January and August. If power to the phones goes down, many senior residents like him may find themselves in situations needing immediate emergency attention.

“To me, that’s life and death,” he said.

He wrote a letter and called Frontier on several occasions. Gains doesn’t have a cell phone, nor does he plan to get one.

Christine Reap, Public Relations Manager for Frontier Communications set the record straight on landline service. A landline is always on even when electricity is out. 911 dispatchers can pinpoint a landline location quickly and accurately, and unlike with cell phones, there are no dead zones, dropped calls or electronic congestion. Traditional landlines work when commercial power is out and also match up with local 911 databases.

“There is just enough power inherent in the network to power the phone in an event like that,” she said.

The best way to have a line to the outside world is to get a traditional corded phone that plugs into a wall jack. Even with a landline as part of a phone provider plan, cordless phones won’t work since they need and electrical outlet for power. Inexpensive corded phones are available at numerous retailers in Kingman.

Frontier voicemail will also work should you need to leave information or check on others.

“It depends on the customer setup,” Reap said.

She gave tips on how to access the mailbox after the initial mailbox set-up.

Choose one of the following methods:

• From your home or office telephone (with enhanced messaging), dial *100. You will then be asked to enter your personal identification number (PIN).

• If you’re away from your home or office, dial the home or office telephone number that has enhanced messaging. When your voice mail greeting begins to play, interrupt the greeting by pressing “*”. You will be asked to enter your PIN. You can also dial your voicemail access number. Enter your 10-digit mailbox number (in most cases, this will be your home or office telephone number). You will then be asked to enter your PIN.

Suddenlink phone lines are internet based – which could mean if the internet goes down, so does the phone line. Suddenlink could not be reached to confirm their landline functions and policies.

Low cost flip-phones are available at almost any cellular service provider and electronics retailer.