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Area code will soon be required on calls in change aimed at shortening suicide prevention lifeline number

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 5:40 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - A change from the Federal Communication Commission will require all outgoing calls to be dialed with an area code. Currently, Alaskans can dial a 7-digit number without the area code and complete a call. However, on October 24, a 10-digit number will be required. The change isn’t arbitrary though, it comes as part of an effort to simplify the National Suicide Lifeline number.

“This will probably make the biggest difference for folks that use landlines, business phones. And really, it’s going to impact any device that dials externally. So you know, that’s not just cell phones, but landlines, fax machines, it’s security systems,” said Josh Edge, a GCI spokesperson.

He encouraged people to check their devices now to make sure 10 digit numbers are saved in address books and avoid any issues when the change is made later next month.

Edge also explained why the Federal Communication Center is making the change.

“The reason the FCC has mandated this, and the reason the carriers are making the full switch to 10 digit dialing is for the implementation of this three digit number to reach the national suicide prevention lifeline. In a state like Alaska where our suicide rate is, I think, like twice that of the national average, this is a really important initiative.”

He says that starting next year, there will be a three digit number to reach the suicide prevention lifeline.

If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can reach the suicide prevention lifeline at 800-273-8255.

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