Why We Do It
There are still tens of millions of people in the USA that do not have and cannot afford a cell phone. Our goal is to provide anyone that needs a phone the ability to call for help when there’s an emergency. But we also have a second goal. To keep as many old cell phones out of the landfills of America as we can. Our motto – Recycling Cell Phones for a safer community.
Start with the Environment
A cell phone is an amazing device. It can be your primary connection to friends and loved ones. It can be your portal into the internet. It can capture the image of your daughter at her first birthday party. But what do you do with it when you upgrade to another model?
If you’re like most people you will think, “It was expensive. I’ll toss it in a drawer.” You didn’t feel right throwing it away, but you also didn’t know what to do with it. As many as a half a billion phones may be lurking in drawers throughout America. We are haunted by the realization that no matter what we do a large percentage of these will end up in landfills. If all of them got there it would represent an addition of 85,733 cubic yards or a column ten feet square and 857 feet high!
It would take well over a thousand years for this mass to safely biodegrade. In the interim vast quantities of the landscape would be bathed in solutions of toxic elements previously allowing someone instant access to their friends. The first priority of Secure the Call was to work to keep cell phones OUT of landfills.
Find a Use for Them
Charge them up and every one of those half-billion cell phones can be used to dial 911 and access emergency services. It’s the law!
All we need to do to successfully reuse the phones we collect is determine who is most at risk of needing 911 emergency services, and who is least likely to currently have a working cell phone of their own.
In the USA, someone turns 65 every seven seconds. Forty-seven percent of them do not currently have a cell phone and are unlikely to have ever had one. Worse, the numbers become more negative for older seniors—those over 75. Here an estimated outright majority of 72% have no cell phone. Most seniors live on fixed incomes and as a group, have a median income less than $17,000 per year. A cell phone is a luxury item few can afford.
The greater problem is their absolute reliance upon 911 emergency services. Almost two out of three ambulance trips involve someone over 65, a number totally out of proportion to their numbers in society. It surprises no one that as we get older, as we approach inevitable death we are much more likely to need emergency services.
One out of three seniors fall each year. In 2007, over 18,000 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries. A significant percentage of these deaths resulted from prolonged periods after the fall with no access to help or emergency services. These deaths are completely avoidable if timely help is received.
A Secure the Call cell phone guarantees that help is always available and just a phone call away. We provide peace of mind, not only to the seniors, but to their friends and families who feel helpless to protect them from progressively threatening frailties.
We provide genuine peace of mind.
Domestic Violence Victims
Over a million women are victims of a physical assault each year. Just under a third of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. Stalking, assaults, rape, and homicide are all various forms of domestic violence. The abusing partner typically seeks to isolate the victim. Abuse strategies vary from requiring constant calls to check in, to demanding the victim stay in one place all the time. This commonly means that the victim has no home phone, no cell phone, and no reliable method of summoning emergency services that are available to them.
Secure the Call emergency phones require only a battery to function, no service agreement with a cell phone carrier and no contracts. Any phone that can turn on and call out can call 911 and be connected to the nearest Police station and there’s never a charge for the call. The phones are completely concealable and reliable when personal safety is compromised.
Creating Community Networks
The phones we provide serve a third purpose – building deeper networks of communication between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. It is on the shoulders of the police to distribute a large portion of our 911 phones. As such, it allows at-risk communities to create stronger ties with police departments.