Emergency Responders Need Landlines

That’s why in an emergency, first responders need the best communication equipment possible, and our neighbors need the best communication devices. Unfortunately, there is a profound misconception about the use of cell phones in emergencies.

From January 2011 Consumer Reports, “With landline phones, operators were significantly more likely to find callers by determining the location of the phone. More than one-third of landline users were located in that manner compared with only 7 percent of cell callers. Landline phones give the operator your home address, including an apartment number if it appears on your phone bill. With cellular phones, operators see only geographic coordinates.”

In fact, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office recommends the use of landline phones in emergencies and only includes landline phones in the state’s emergency database.

In February 2007, I witnessed an emergency unfold in my neighborhood. On the coldest morning of the year, the Monahan house next door burned to the ground in a matter of minutes. Emergency responders did everything they could to put out the fire despite their limitations. In my neighborhood, there are no fire hydrants.

I watched fire engulf my neighbor’s house, horrified, as the Monahans and their two young sons ran for their lives, while firefighters struggled to put out the flames with water from the lake at the bottom of Barlow Mountain hill.

Firefighters had to cut a hole into ice several inches thick, pump lake water into a truck, drive the truck back up the hill, and dump the water into a makeshift pool. Only then were they able to douse the flames.

Safety is such an important issue. Blake Levitt, an award-winning science writer and a Connecticut resident, has written extensively on the harmful effects of electromagnetic field and radio frequency emissions on the environment, noting that cell towers may be responsible for the disappearance of the honey bees.

To paraphrase Albert Einstein, “When the bees disappear, man will soon follow.” We can only wonder what cell towers do to humans.

Because of the World Health Organization’s announcement on May 31, categorizing radio frequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” we won’t have to wonder much longer.

Christopher Wild, director of the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, stressed the need for further research on cell phones, based upon the conclusion of the IARC’s team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the United States.

Prior to the WHO announcement, the International Association of Firefighters had issued a statement in 2004 opposing “¦ the use of fire stations as base stations for antennas and towers for the conduction of cell phone transmissions until such installations are proven not to be hazardous to the health of our members.”

Safety is such an important issue. Given the choice between spending money on a cell tower, which can harm our neighbors’ property values and may be a danger to them, or a fire hydrant, which can save properties, as well as lives, let’s spend money on equipment that saves lives, not destroys them.

Let’s protect Ridgefield’s “architectural integrity” and environmental beauty by not allowing cell towers in residential or historical areas. Let’s continue to keep “one of Connecticut’s finest treasures” a desirable place to live by improving, not destroying, our beloved, treasured town.

Lauren Salkin is a resident of Ridgefield.

Read more: http://www.newstimes.com/default/article/Sunday-debate-Proposed-cell-tower-Safety-should-1409980.php#ixzz1OSfdCbKg

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