Eagle County phone users need to start dialing all 10 digits in a number | VailDaily.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Eagle County phone users need to start dialing all 10 digits in a number

Move starting Sunday locally helps clear the way for a National Suicide Hotline

Dispatcher Fernando Almanza takes calls at the Vail Public Safety Communications Center. The center has had to change over its internal speed dialing numbers to 10 digits as part of a national switch that will enable the national rollout of 988, which will be the National Suicide Hotline.
Vail Daily archive

In the old days, you could reach a neighbor by dialing just four or five digits. As of Sunday, everyone in the 970 area will have to call all 10 digits in a phone number.

The change is part of a national switch that will enable the national rollout of 988, which will be the National Suicide Hotline. That number will take callers to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which will go live July 16, 2022.

That’s a big step in national and local suicide prevention efforts.



Erin Ivie is the executive director of SpeakUp ReachOut, the local suicide prevention group.

“The transition to 988 as the new suicide prevention lifeline is a huge step in helping end stigma towards those seeking and accessing mental health care,” Ivie wrote in an email. “This new crisis line will help ensure that callers are connected to a trained professional who can address their immediate need and reduce the use of law enforcement resources in a mental health crisis response.”



Ivie added that 988 is not yet active and callers should still use 800-273-8255.

James Cullen, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, wrote in an email that the switch to 10-digit dialing is due to the fact there are some phone numbers that begin with 988. Dialing the area code plus the seven-digit number will allow use of the national number.

While Colorado’s 970 and 719 area codes are switching Sunday to 10-digit dialing, users in the state’s 303 and 720 area codes, which mostly cover the Denver metropolitan area, have long had to use all 10 digits in a phone number.

The Vail Daily for several years has included all 10 digits in telephone numbers published in the paper.

The new requirement won’t affect calls to 911, the emergency public safety number.

Marc Wentworth, the director of the Vail Public Safety Communications Center, said he doesn’t expect many problems with the switch. But, he added, the center has had to change over its internal speed dialing numbers. Those numbers reach out to the valley’s police, fire, ambulance and utility services, as well as contact numbers for a number of individuals.

Wentworth said that changeover has been smooth. He largely expects the same for the general public.

“I wonder how many people actually dial phone numbers — most calls we make are already programmed into our phones,” he said, adding that 10-digit numbers are already required to send text messages.

Emergency calls unaffected

Sunday’s switch to 10-digit dialing doesn’t affect emergency calls to 911.


Support Local Journalism