There’s no question that mobile phones have made things safer and more convenient, but relying on them too much in a crisis can be a problem. After the bombings in London last July 7 which killed 52 and injured 700, an official report has said that emergency response was hampered by an over-reliance on mobile phones and inadequate or non-existent communication systems for the underground subway system. Drivers on the trains have no ability to communicate directly with emergency services or the central control centre, so responders were unable to quickly get an idea of what had happened. The radio systems in place can communicate between the drivers and the line controllers, but none of them worked on the three trains that were involved in explosions.
The communications network, or lack thereof, is not a newly identified problem. It was pinpointed 18 years ago in the Kings Cross disaster, but no significant steps were taken to improve the situation.