Don't abandon your landline just yet: 911 operators say a landline could save your life

Posted at 7:56 AM, May 17, 2017

In November, 10-year-old Preston Witt was a hero who saved his family from being robbed. He called 911 to report “a man in (his) house looking for stuff…with a Halloween mask on.”

Witt made the call from a landline — something that only 40 percent of households still have, according to

Andrew Knapp, director of the Hamilton County Communications Center, said Witt’s story illustrates the need for a landline.

“Having a landline is an insurance policy,” Knapp said. “You know it’s going to work, you know the power is not going to go out and you know the location is going to be reported accurately.”

Communications officer Marie Rose said, in some circumstances, it’s not possible to accurately give a location from a cell phone when calling 911.

“If somebody is a house or business where they don’t know the address or maybe they can’t talk,” Rose said. “If they call 911, we almost always send an officer just to check if we can’t make contact.”

Hamilton County Communications Center data shows that 81.5 percent of calls received in 2016 came from wireless phones.

Communications center staff advise families with children or seniors to have a landline in case of emergencies.