To the editor:
No sooner did Lenox voters turn down a perfectly reasonable cell tower proposal at the December Special Town Meeting than nature provided the true case for updating and modernizing our bylaw and improving our cell service. Safety.
When a “wintry mix” storm knocked out power, I didn’t know how serious the outage was or how widespread because I couldn’t make a call. My phone is set for “Wi-Fi calling” to compensate for inadequate cell signal, but of course there is no Wi-Fi during a power outage. So if I had needed to call for help, I would have been out of luck. Spring and summer have brought more storms, with more electricity outages, providing more times when we are all vulnerable.
This is the true danger of inadequate cell service — the inability to call for help in an emergency. Not the long-term possibility of unproven effects, but the immediate danger of not being able to make or receive a call when things go wrong, when you need help right now.
Adequate cell service isn’t discretionary, it’s life saving. If a neighbor fell in her home or on a walk, there is every possibility that she would be unable to call for help. Perhaps a 911 call could get through on a newer phone, but that doesn’t help in daily emergencies. If you are lost and need directions, or need to let a child know you are on the way, or need to confirm where you are meeting your friend for lunch, you might not be able to make a call in many parts of Lenox.
Until the bylaw is approved, people in Lenox are unsafe. We are vulnerable to real current dangers, not unproven potential ones. Turning down the proposed bylaw extends the current bad, dangerous situation, leaving us all more vulnerable than we may realize. Approving the proposed bylaw at the May 4th Town Meeting can end the current dangerous situation.
Deborah Ferro Burke
216 Hubbard St.