Usually, when you dial a phone number here in Buffalo and Western New York, you just go straight to the seven-digit number and don't even bother punching in the "716" area code. However, soon that will change for many here in Buffalo and the surrounding region in Western New York.

WGRZ is reporting that soon those in Buffalo and the surrounding region will soon have to start dialing the "716" area code before any call, instead of just the seven-digit number.

The reason is due to a new suicide prevention hotline that will go nationwide. The suicide prevention hotline will be dialed 9-8-8. It's designed to get people with a mental health crisis the care they need, quickly.

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Areas with a 9-8-8 exchange, which is in Western New York (South Dayton), that 9-8-8 dial might go to someone's home phone number instead, which is why the full 10-digit number will need to be dialed.

This will take effect on April 24th, but if people forget the call should still go through correctly. However, on October 24th, it will be mandatory to dial the "716" area code first.

The Verge reports that cellular services, such as Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T have support pages now in place to help explain the changes. This will go for landlines, cell phones and VoIP services.

Cellular services like Verizon say some changes will need to be made for how you approach phone calls, such as changing contacts in your phone to the full 10-digit number, if the only have seven numbers currently.


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