The mandated 10-digit dialing procedure for Guam will roll out on Oct. 24, local carriers reminded residents in a joint announcement today. All local phone calls on Guam must include the 671-area code.
The Federal Communications Commission has designated 988 as the service number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline effective July 16, 2022.
The new FCC mandate — noting that the "every second matters"— simplifies the dialing procedure for suicide prevention and mental health aid.
Right now, those seeking help have to dial 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The number is too long to remember in times of crisis.
Beginning July of next year, when you have an urgent mental health need, you’ll call just 3 digits - “988"; similar to “911” for police, fire, or rescue emergencies.
To make this possible, all area codes within the United States that have phone numbers beginning with “988” will now require the area code to be dialed first, followed by the local telephone number (for example: 671-988-XXXX). This prevents calls to the National Suicide Lifeline from being automatically triggered and placed.
Guam is among 82 area codes that need to make this local call transition. By Oct. 24, all phone numbers will remain the same, but “671” must be entered in the beginning.
By Oct. 24, calls dialed in Guam without the “671” prefix will receive an error message prompting the caller to try again.
Some helpful tips to navigate through this change:
Go through your contact list and add “671” in the beginning of all local phone numbers.
Reprogram all numbers on life safety systems or medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, fire or burglar alarms and security systems or gates.
For business customers: Be sure to check websites, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks for contact information and other such items to ensure the area code is included.
“We understand the initial frustration around the 10-digit dialing implementation. The new '988' shortcode ensures our loved ones suffering from mental health issues can call for help in times of crisis. While this change may take some time to get used to, we thank our community for transitioning with us," said Roderick Boss, CEO of Docomo Pacific.
“Uniting with our local telecom providers to educate our island about mandatory 10-digit dialing is critical. It gives customers adequate time to check and reprogram electronics and other equipment to incorporate 10-digit phone numbers," said Andrew Gayle, CEO of GTA Teleguam.
He said the permissive dialing period given by all local telecom companies on Guam also allows customers to become acclimated to dialing 10-digits instead of 7 and ensures that the community is fully prepared for the significant change this year.
"The implementation of ‘988’ as the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline is a positive step for our community and further connects them to life-saving resources," Gayle said.
“The time is quickly approaching for all Guam residents to include the area code with every phone call. Our partnership with Docomo and GTA has been instrumental for helping the community adjust to the new dialing procedure and educating the community about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline," said Jim Oehlerking, CEO of IT&E.
"To help with the transition, we encourage all residents to update their contact lists to include 671 and to take the suggested steps to make sure that all life safety systems, medical monitoring devices, security systems and other devices will continue to work as intended.”