Don’t dial 9 for an outside line; use 2 to get through

Three phone receivers, all of different colors, laying on a tabletop

The next time you pick up a district phone to dial an outside phone line, no matter what the area code, NEVER DIAL 9 before the number. Rather, ALWAYS dial 2, the area code, and the number. This applies to all area codes, including 360, as well as any 800 numbers.

Note: In an emergency, dialing 911 (three digits) is still the appropriate and preferred method.

Some background:

When the district switched long distance carriers a little over a year ago, we moved away from the state’s managed long distance SCAN system, which forced us to dial a “2” when dialing a long distance number along with a department code for billing.  With the new system we get billed directly from CenturyLink, saving us money and removing the need for the additional dial code.

While the new system is definitely more convenient, it has given rise to a new problem, accidental 911 calls are becoming more and more prevalent as folks are getting used to dialing 9 for an outside line followed by 1-area code-number.  It is very easy in the rush of dialing to double tap the “1” key, and that’s all it takes!  No matter how quickly you realize your mistake, you have placed a call to 911, and if you do not stay on the line to explain that it was an accident the police department will call back to make sure there is not an actual emergency.

Even without the SCAN system, “2” is still an option for dialing an out of district number.  In fact, when you use “2” as the prefix you only need to follow with the area code and number, no need for a “1” at all! This means one less number to dial, and it completely eliminates the chance of accidentally dialing 911!  For this reason we are asking all district staff to use 2 as the default prefix when making outbound calls.

So please, pass it on to coworkers, friends, families, anyone dialing out on our phones; Don’t dial 9 for an outside line, use 2 to get through!