New dialing procedure leaves some San Francisco residents calling 911

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - New phone dialing procedures caused some confusion for about a couple of dozen people who called 911 because their phone lines would not connect to others with a 415 area code.

The procedure requires customers to dial "1" plus the three-digit area code for all calls to and from telephone numbers with the 415 and 628 area codes. It became mandatory on Saturday in anticipation of a new 628 area code set to be introduced in March.

Customers unaware of the dialing change were unable to connect to city departments and instead called 911, according to Department of Emergency Management Spokesman Francis Zamora.

"There were a lot of people that were concerned, maybe a little bit confused," Zamora said.

Zamora said the first call came in around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday. The majority of the calls were received from 7 – 9 a.m. and then tapered off.

"Some people were trying to pay parking tickets," he said. "Some people were trying to get in contact with the court system trying to see if they had jury duty this week."

San Francisco's Department of Emergency Management receives roughly 3,000 emergency and non-emergency calls per day.

Operators politely reminded callers that their line is strictly for emergencies. They advised callers with questions for city or government departments to call 311 instead.

"911 is an easy number to remember, but again, it's for emergencies only," Zamora added.

Zamora said the calls about the area code confusion did not back up the system.