I read an interesting story today about a new piece of legislation that’s been proposed in Washington State.
Here’s the backstory. In 2014, the remote community of the San Juan Islands lost phone service for 11 days. All the phone service to the islands, where about 15,000 people live, comes across from the mainland on a submarine cable. That cable failed, and it took a long time for CenturyLink, the operator, to figure out what was wrong and fix it.
During that time some cell phones worked, not all, and nobody could call off the islands on their landline phones.
Medical alarms mostly depend on landlines.
According to the story in the local newspaper, one woman who owns a medical alarm fell during the phone outage and wasn’t found for two days. She later recovered. Another person who needed medical care during this time didn’t get it and later died.
The proposed bill would make it possible for first responders to access the names of medical alert customers during a prolonged outage so that fire department and law enforcement personnel could check on them to make sure they’re not injured and unable to call for help.
Kudos to Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker for introducing this bill, which received unanimous support in the State Senate.