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Panhandle residents must type 10 digits to make phone calls instead of 7 starting October 24

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The FCC approved “988″ to soon be the new number to reach the national suicide prevention lifeline.

This code is a prefix number used in our area, so you will have to type in 10 digits instead of seven to make a call.

“Our region does have a 988 prefix in Higgins, Texas,” said Mike Peters, regional 911 network director for the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission. “To allow those customers in Higgins to continue to get calls, the entire region, the entire 806 area code, will be required to change.”

If you dial seven digits to make a call starting on Sunday, you’ll hear a recorded prompt to hang up and redial 10 digits.

Peters says that this change will primarily impact older generations.

“They’re not going to be able to dial and reach different people the same way,” said Peters. “It’s likely you may have to change contacts in your cell phone number, so it’s going to be obvious when your cell phone numbers don’t go through.”

The Public Utility Commission of Texas recommends everyone to update their medical and security alert systems to avoid service interruptions.

“It’s important to remember that phones are also our connection to emergency medical situations.” said Andrew Barlow, director of external affairs of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. “If you have any kind of health care monitoring situation, home security monitoring situation, its worthwhile to remember that your phone number is a critical part of that connection.”

It’s recommended that if that you have an older alert system using seven digits, contact your service provider to see if it needs to be reprogrammed.

Family Support Services says it’s currently working on how to handle this change for providing mental health support in our area.

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