In a disaster cell lines become overloaded, as can landlines. Another good reason to evacuate. It is best to have both. Get a strap for the elderly person to keep the cell around their neck. There are services that have "emergency buttons", renting these on a monthly basis, but the problem is (a) there is often a long delay before they call 911 (b) the information is often garbled (I have worked evaluating 911 systems and am not a happy camper with the calls from these services, whose operators are not medically trained and may be in a different country). The fastest way to get action is to use a cell or landline and dial 911.
One of the big problems with the so-called "rental emergency buttons for ma' " that are promoted is that they are tied into the cell phone system, which is invariably overloaded during catastrophe. Thus, after the last flood on the east coast the emergency buttons did not function. Of course, you wouldn't know this because they did not notify the customers.
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