Why Police Officers and Firefighters Don’t Use Cell Phones

July 14th, 2016

Have you ever wondered why police officers, firefighters and other essential emergency personnel don’t use their cell phones to communicate with one another on the job? With so many technological advancements to cell phones in recent years it may seem like these devices are the most reliable forms of communication, but in reality, it’s the classic two-way radio that gets the job done in times of crisis. Here are just a few reasons why police and fire departments rely on two-way radios.

  • Two-way radios don’t operate on phone lines. Because two-way radios don’t require phone lines, they always work, even when the lines are congested. In large-scale emergencies when dozens of people are trying to use their cell phones in one specific area, the phone lines often become so congested that calls are dropped or don’t go through at all. Two-way radio signals, however, don’t use this same type of phone line, which makes them much more reliable even when the phone lines aren’t.
  • They’re much faster than cell phones. When you use a cell phone, you first have to dial the person’s phone number and then wait for them to answer the phone. With a two-way radio, however, you can be in almost instant communication with the other party simply by pressing a button.
  • You can communicate with a whole network of people all at once. When everyone at a police department or fire department uses the same signal on their two-way radios, it’s easy to send an instant message or announcement to all parties at one time. This is especially important in cases of fires, robberies or shootings when emergency departments need all hands on deck.
  • Cell phones are too fragile. In terms of practicality on the job, cell phones are also just too fragile. Most two-way radios used by emergency personnel are waterproof, resistant to heat from fires and even durable enough to survive a fall or crush, which makes them much more practical than delicate cell phones. 

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