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Yesterday's Internet and cellular service outage in a number of communities has sparked concerns from Altona fire Chief Greg Zimmerman.

Service went down in Altona, Gretna, Plum Coulee, and Kleefeld in the afternoon and lasted until shortly after midnight. The outage was caused by a damaged fiber line, according to a Bell MTS spokesperson.

A dependency on cell phones can be dangerous in the case of an emergency while there is also a service outage, Zimmerman said.

"It raises a few concerns just in the fact that it hampers communications. I mean, communications have become very reliant on cell service, and it only takes one tower to go down and then we lose cell service," he said. "The only way you could communicate then would be basically through landline."

Something Zimmerman has noticed is that the newer generation is not learning how to operate a cell phone in the way that older generations were taught to use a landline phone.

"With the cell service, one of my concerns would be with small children. I found that, including my own children, they have cells and didn't get a landline, and I found that my grandchildren were unable to understand the phone system because they didn't have access to a phone," he said. "When you have a landline the small children sort of learn how to use a phone. Just make sure when you have a cell phone you teach your children how to use it."

Zimmerman also suggested that if a household is without a landline phone they should check with their neighbours to see who does have one so they can use it when an emergency and service outage coincide.

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