RICHLAND, Wash.- Authorities say that cell phones and Internet based phone services can leave people stranded during an emergency.
A major emergency can leave the cellular phone circuit overloaded, and if the power to a cell tower goes out, that area of the grid may be unusable.
In addition, new Internet based phone services will not work during a power outage unless you have a battery backup system. They also route calls through various areas of the country before reaching your local 911 center.
Benton County officials say they receive nearly 250,000 911 calls each year, about half of which are from cell phones. Due to increased cell phone usage, many of these calls are repetitive. Still officials warn, if you believe you or some one around may be in danger, do not hesitate to call 911.