We are just a few days away from a major change to five New York area codes, including 845 and 914.

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On Thursday, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro reminded residents and businesses that starting Sunday, Oct. 24, a change by the FCC will require those living and working within area codes 845 or 914 to dial the area code when they place local calls within those area codes.

"I encourage residents and businesses to update the contacts’ information in their mobile phones and similar systems before the Oct. 24th switch-over to avoid any inconvenience once the FCC’s change takes place. This is an important change that will make it easier for callers nationwide to contact the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline and get the assistance they need. The simple addition of three digits to local phone calls can help save a life," Molinaro said.

Several years ago, a similar change took effect for area code 518, the only other area code within Dutchess County. Dialing 911 in the event of an emergency will not be affected by this change; all preprogrammed numbers in Dutchess County’s 911 Communications Center have been updated.

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On July 16, 2020, the FCC adopted an order approving 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting July 16, 2022. The Order requires all telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol providers, and one-way VoIP providers to make any network changes necessary to ensure that users can dial 988 to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.

The FCC has adopted 988 as a new three-digit number to be used nationwide to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline, necessitating this new shift to 10-digit dialing in the affected area codes; this change is occurring in 35 states since there were 82 area codes, including 845 and 914, that use 988 as a prefix. Wireless customers nationwide may dial either 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach the Lifeline now; landline customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.

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In order for 988 to work in 82 area codes across 3 states, every customer with a number in those area codes with seven-digit local dialing must be transitioned to 10-digit dialing.

Beginning Oct. 24, local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed, and a recording may inform residents that their call cannot be completed as dialed. If residents receive this recording, they must hang up and dial again using the area code and the seven-digit number.

County Executive Molinaro reminded residents and businesses that their telephone number, including current area code, will not change nor will the price of a call, coverage area or other rates and services. Residents throughout Dutchess County will continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls.

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Prior to Oct. 24th, residents and businesses are encouraged to reprogram all services, automatic dialing equipment or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls to seven-digit local numbers to complete calls to 10-digit numbers, including the area code. Examples of services or devices which will need to be updated include:

  • Life safety systems and medical monitoring devices;
  • PBXs
  • Fax machines
  • Internet dial-up numbers;
  • Fire or burglar alarm systems;
  • Other security systems or gates;
  • Speed dialers;
  • Mobile or other wireless phone contact lists;
  • Call forwarding settings; and
  • Voicemail services.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to update their website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, personal or pet ID tags, as well as other such items to ensure the area code is included.

"Effective October 24, 2021, 10-digit dialing will be mandatory for all local calls in the 845 area code. Orange County 911 is prepared for the change," Orange County 911 wrote on Facebook to remind residents about the switch. "Are you prepared?"

Orange County 911 shared the following photos with more information about the dialing switch.

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