Have you ever been in your doctor's waiting room alone, patiently waiting for the door to open and your doctor to walk in? But instead, you find yourself waiting and waiting. You become bored so you reach for your phone to check out what's happening on Facebook while you wait and you can't get a signal? Why? Do they block cellphone signals at hospitals and medical offices?

Do hospitals and doctor's offices block cellphone signals? Although some areas of medical facilities where sensitive equipment is being used may have equipment installed to detect the use of a cell phone, it is illegal to deliberately disrupt a cellphone signal. So why can't you get a signal out of most hospitals, medical facilities and doctor's offices?

First, even though a medical facility cannot legally block a cellphone signal, they can use what's called passive cellphone blocking. Materials such as wallpaper and building materials can be embedded with small pieces of metal which makes getting a cell tower signal into the building difficult but not impossible. Or, in reverse, a signal out.

Another reason your cellphone may not work when you want to put the first baby pic of your newborn on social media is simply because of the way medical buildings are constructed. Most are constructed with strong steel framing with thick concrete walls, floors and ceilings capable of withstanding just about anything Mother Nature can toss at them.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was tossing around the idea of letting companies design and sell equipment that would not "jam" a cellphone signal, but "control" it. The FCC made a ruling in 2020 that considered "jamming" a cellphone signal a violation of federal law.

Signal jamming devices can prevent you and others from making 9-1-1 and other emergency calls and pose serious risks to public safety communications, as well as interfere with other forms of day-to-day communications.

The use of a phone jammer, GPS blocker, or other signal jamming device designed to intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized radio communications is a violation of federal law.  There are no exemptions for use within a business, classroom, residence, or vehicle.  Local law enforcement agencies do not have independent authority to use jamming equipment; in certain limited exceptions use by Federal law enforcement agencies is authorized in accordance with applicable statutes.

It is also unlawful to advertise, sell, distribute, import, or otherwise market jamming devices to consumers in the United States. -FCC.gov

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