Preparedness Quick Tip #44: Using Old Phone + Landline

With the move of technology going more and more towards cable packages and cell phones, we sometimes forget that there is a lonely old landline in our homes, feeling useless and neglected. But in the case of an emergency, that landline might prove to be a terrific tool for reaching 911 even when all other services are out!

Preparedness Quick Tip #44 - Make use of that old landline you still have, even if you aren't paying for it, by using it to reach 911 in emergencies. Click thru for more information. Get even more Preparedness Quick Tips from

If you still have a phone that doesn’t require electricity to work, like the slimlines of old, you may be able to plug that phone into your landline and still reach emergency services, even when cell services are out! Phones that work with handheld units won’t work – it needs to be a corded phone.

Here are some of the details about that, though:

  • You phone service provider must still offer a soft dial tone. Some states may still require that phone providers provide this service, but it’s no longer universal. The linked list is old, but you can contact your provider to ask – and this isn’t the service that requires you to pay a nominal fee to keep an emergency connection, although those are available as well.
  • Your phone service provider must still maintain those lines. Because this is outdated technology, many may no longer be servicing broken and shorted lines, so double check!
  • Your home must have been built with those lines and haven’t had them physically disconnected in the past

This wont’ be an option for everyone, but test to see if it is. Fair warning….if you keep it plugged in, you’ll get tons of robo-calling telemarketers. That’s why we keep ours in a small basket next to the jack with a flashlight to make plugging it in easier in the dark, and have painted the jack with glow-in-the-dark paint to make finding it easier!

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Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.

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