911 service not affected
The switch to 10-digit dialing begins this weekend and Manitobans are reminded to make sure their home alarms and any preprogrammed dialing devices have had the 204 area code added to them. This statement was made by David Schafer, Manitoba fire commissioner, and Mark Desaulniers, president, Manitoba Association of Fire Chiefs.
“We’re asking all homeowners and businesses that have fire alarm systems installed to check with their monitoring companies to ensure that the changeover has been made,” said Schafer. “We don’t want to see anyone hurt or have a response delayed due to a failure to connect an emergency call because the area code wasn’t added to the phone number.”
Beginning July 29, callers who do not use the 204 area code will hear a recorded message reminding them to add the area code. This automated message may disrupt some automated dialing systems, so the public is reminded to add the area code to all their preprogrammed phone numbers. Ten-digit dialing becomes mandatory on Oct. 20.
“This change will also affect the signs for some non-monitored fire alarm systems,” said Desaulniers. “These systems are required to have a sign posted above the pull stations that tell you to phone 911 or the local fire department. The change will not affect 911 but would affect the number to call the local fire department in those areas of Manitoba not serviced by 911. These signs will all need to be updated before Oct. 20.”
The 10-digit dialing change was introduced in 2011 and will affect a host of telecommunication devices including alarms and security systems, automatic dialing systems, speed dialers, fax machines, wireless phones and other wireless devices, dispatch boards and software, voice mail systems and equipment for the hearing impaired.
Many alarm companies have already reprogrammed the auto-dial feature but, if homeowners are unsure, they should contact their service provider.