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#259141 - 04/15/13 09:27 PM Don't count on cell phones in a crisis
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1890
Loc: Washington, DC

On 9/11, DC's cell phone system was overloaded by everyone trying to make calls. Today, Boston police reportedly have the system shut down to prevent any cell-triggered explosive devices from being triggered.

Sympathies to those in the chaos at the Boston Marathon, especially the dead and injured (and their families). Very sad day. I've long worried about DC's Marine Corps Marathon being a very soft and extremely attractive terrorist target.

Evil was on display today.


Official: Cellphone service shut down in Boston to prevent remote detonations of explosives

WASHINGTON A law enforcement official says cellphone service has been shut down in the Boston area to prevent any potential remote detonations of explosives.


#259142 - 04/15/13 09:51 PM Re: Don't count on cell phones in a crisis [Re: Dagny]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1890
Loc: Washington, DC

Now I'm hearing conflicting reports about whether the cell service was shut down.

Typical early hours of a disaster: "conflicting reports."


#259145 - 04/15/13 11:13 PM Re: Don't count on cell phones in a crisis [Re: Dagny]
Bingley Online   content

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1229
Let's keep the victims in our thoughts in prayers.

I take some comfort in how swiftly people responded to the bombing. If you watch the video, you'll see that within seconds people -- uniformed or not -- sprang into action. Within a minute or two, you can hear the siren of the ambulance. I am guessing that speed might have saved some lives.

#259147 - 04/15/13 11:29 PM Re: Don't count on cell phones in a crisis [Re: Bingley]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5600
Loc: southern Cal
Excellent point.
Geezer in Chief

#259148 - 04/16/13 12:40 AM Re: Don't count on cell phones in a crisis [Re: Dagny]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4394
Dunno, I wasn't there and this is pure speculation...
I wonder if the cell system may have been overloaded due to the Boston Marathon increasing the concentration/density of cell phones; then when the bombs went off everyone was on their phone immediately if they weren't already on -- then the system crashed.

The basic point of the thread is valid regardless, "don't count on cell phones in a crisis".

#259153 - 04/16/13 02:00 AM Re: Don't count on cell phones in a crisis [Re: Dagny]
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
CNET says no deliberate shutdown, just overload, with quotes from Sprint and Verizon, and comments from a CNET employee who participated in the race.


Edited by James_Van_Artsdalen (04/16/13 05:42 AM)
Edit Reason: CNET employee, not Verizon

#259160 - 04/16/13 02:53 AM Re: Don't count on cell phones in a crisis [Re: Dagny]
ireckon Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1613
Loc: Northern California
My prayers go out for the victims.

Without cell service, your mobile phone may not be a virtual brick. Don't forget most modern mobile phones have the ability to latch unto a local area network (LAN), which is separate from the cell phone service. So, don't forget to try that option in a crisis. Access to a LAN would enable me to burst out an email at least. Also, I think networks like LTE are on different towers than the cell phone.

I'm not saying these other options are super reliable. I'm just saying these are other options to try.
If you're reading this, it's too late.

#259162 - 04/16/13 02:58 AM Re: Don't count on cell phones in a crisis [Re: Dagny]
drahthaar Offline

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 104
Depends how you define "crisis".

It seems to me that the main effect of cell phone towers being overloaded/turned off in a situation like this is just inconvenience and isn't really a survival issue.

I guess if you were were in Boston and you were injured and you were somehow away from people so that you needed to use your cell phone to call for help - then the lack of service would be an issue. But I can't think of any alternative that bring assistance given the chaotic scene.

#259163 - 04/16/13 02:59 AM Re: Don't count on cell phones in a crisis [Re: Dagny]
Quietly_Learning Offline

Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 154
So sad, my thoughts and prayers to those injured and their loved ones.

If it was turned off or overloaded then two choices are to try to find a land line or WiFi hot spot.

-I had to use both methods after hurricane sandy to communicate with my loved ones because so many cell towers were down and the remainder overloaded.

#259172 - 04/16/13 07:47 AM Re: Don't count on cell phones in a crisis [Re: Quietly_Learning]
funkycamper Offline

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 1
Loc: Washington
According to a few interviews on the news, people were able to text on their cellphones even when they couldn't make calls.

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