Disconnecting unused phone lines

Discussions around standard phones and phone service in meetinghouses and what the future of meetinghouse telephones should hold
MamaSmith
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Re: Disconnecting unused phone lines

Postby MamaSmith » Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:53 pm

Question: How does this affect our legal liability? I was just speaking to a member who has no cell phone, if there is an emergency in the building at the time and she is there with a person who also does not have a cell phone, she said she is going to pull the fire alarm! Is that the only option? It does not seem very safe in these times to be without a land phone in the buildings. Not everyone has a cell phone.

Ann Smith

russellhltn
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Re: Disconnecting unused phone lines

Postby russellhltn » Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:46 pm

Not all fire alarms are connected to summon help. Their primary purpose is to sound an alarm to get the building evacuated.

As it is, most wired phones are (were) locked away in the clerk's office. When my stake did inventory for this project, none of the hallway phones were in working condition (although the service was still active). No one bothered to report the failure. So, for most buildings, unless one of persons in your example happened to have keys to the clerk's office, they'd be in the same situation.

I'll also note that cell phones can call 911 even if they are not activated. (The challenge is making sure an unused phone always has a charge.) In the US, there are programs to help those with low income to have a basic phone.

Stakes have some discretion in what lines are removed. A building located in a high crime area may want to keep a phone. This may be something this individual may want to discuss with their leaders.
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sbradshaw
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Re: Disconnecting unused phone lines

Postby sbradshaw » Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:51 pm

I can see how it can be helpful to have a public phone in emergency situations, but there are a lot of buildings (libraries, museums, government buildings, etc.) that don't have publicly-accessible phones, so I don't expect that it could be a legal liability.
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mevans
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Re: Disconnecting unused phone lines

Postby mevans » Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:48 am

sbradshaw wrote:I can see how it can be helpful to have a public phone in emergency situations, but there are a lot of buildings (libraries, museums, government buildings, etc.) that don't have publicly-accessible phones, so I don't expect that it could be a legal liability.

The types of buildings mentioned are usually open at specific hours and are staffed by people who do have access to non-public phones who one could go to for help. I somewhat frequently still see one pay phone available in these places. I've heard of situations where children and youth were dropped off at church and no adult leaders were present, even though the building was unlocked. In fact recently I was mourning the loss of the foyer phone when I was at the church one evening trying to figure out how to set up for outdoor church. I accidentally locked things like my car keys and a phone in the car.

In these days of VOIP technology it could be easy and not that expensive to provide some kind of communications option in the buildings. I just had a thought: the building I was in had the new church audio system with touch screens installed. It's connected to the internet. The chapel panel could be programmed to have a phone screen on it. It would be a giant speakerphone that uses the pulpit mic and chapel speakers to conduct the phone call. It's not a private call, but it would be a way to allow someone in the building to communicate...or even make the chapel able to participate in a phone conference if you called a conference line from there.


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