Some devices won’t call 911 next year

Older cell phones and medical alert devices won’t work in 2022
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - Millions of people across the country could soon find reaching 911 a challenge.

Cell phone providers are phasing out 2G and 3G service next year.

That means older cell phones and medical alert devices won’t work.

The Jackson County Department on Aging said its working with its seniors to let them know some devices won’t work so they’ll be able to call for help.

“Because they’re not going to have access to features anymore, especially dialing 911,” said Danielle Pequet, Jackson Co. Dept. on Aging director.

Pequet said many seniors have inactivated cell phones in their restrooms or on their walker in case of an emergency.

“It’s really looking into an upgrade so they can make sure the device is capable of doing what they want it to do,” said Pequet.

Next year, cell phone carriers are taking older 3G networks offline to make room for 5G upgrades.

This means older cell phones and medical alert devices that currently call 911, no longer will.

“The just in case, the one you’re going to pick up and call 911. We just hate for that to be your safety net and for it to not be in place when you need it,” said Barb Davidson, Ingham County 911 Director.

Davidson said people need to make sure their devices are at least 4G.

Many 3G medical alert devices are still sold online.

“The concern for us is that safety net many folks think they have in place, may not be there for them anymore,” said Davidson.

“It’s very important that people look at their devices, find out if their device is going to be impacted by this change,” said Pequet.

Pequet said people should contact their carrier to see if they need to upgrade their device.

Cell phone carriers will ultimately decide when they will turn off their 3G networks.

The major companies plan on turning off the network as early as January 1.

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