Making phone calls when your cell provider is useless

Cell_Tower_-_Credit_CC_BY_SA_3In Nashville the other day if you were on Sprint and wanted to call 911 for a life threatening emergency, well you just couldn’t. While the 911 issue does not exactly plague us on Sprint, the inability to make phone calls from 5-6 every day due to overloaded towers, weather conditions, etc have made the past few years a lesson in how to get around my carrier’s deficiencies.

It’s always important to remember the non-emergency number for the police in your area. When you can’t call 911, or you’re on a WiFi call you’ll need it. It’s generally answered at the same location depending on your town, and doesn’t usually take that much longer to reach someone than calling the emergency number does.

It’s also important that you have a WiFi calling option for when it’s 5:30 and every Joe on the road is calling people taking up the cell bandwidth. I can’t count the number of failed calls I’ve had at about that time. I use an application called GrooveIP for a backup phone source. Works great when cell towers are overloaded or when you’re in an area with WiFi but no cell signal.

During the last big tornado threat we had here there was no way to make a call via a cell tower in my neighborhood. However my internet and WiFi were working fine so I just popped on with GrooveIP, and was able to reach ITMama in her school bunker to tell her that the roads sucked,

GrooveIP takes about five minutes to figure out how to set up, and you’ll generally only want to be running it during the times that your cell provider is useless.

Beyond that, having an actual landline available is absurdly useful. Not one of these Comcast home phone systems, Vonage or MagicJacks, but a straight piece of copper that comes into your house and goes to a phone. Old tech doesn’t break much, however it’s expensive as all getout.