Last month, 10-digit dialing was implemented in the 570 area code dialing area. In addition, in the near future, there willl be a new area code overlapping the 570 area.

This means that people who until last month could call their friends and relatives by simply dialing seven digits now have to add the area code onto their dialing.

We're sure you changed the automatic dialing numbers on your telephones. You must have programmed the new digits into your cell phones.

But did you change the dialing procedures on your various home alarm systems?

Many people have burglar and fire alarm systems in their residences which automatically connected to a dispatching system if certain signals are received, including smoke inside your home.

The alarm system can't do the automatic dialing successfully without the 10 digits programmed.

Make sure you check you system to be sure it will dial properly. There's a chance you might have to make upgrades.

Do it immediately so you don't forget. Your alarm system is worthless if it can't connect to the dispatcher.

A burglary will go undetected if your system is set up to dial only seven numbers.

It could be a matter of life and death if your home fire alarm system can't dial properly.

This is fire prevention week. It's a time when you think about fire safety and fire prevention. You think about home escape plans. You should be checking the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

You probably didn't think about your home alarms and upgrading the dialing. After all, such systems are generally maintenance free.

Don't procrastinate.

The new dialing system is implemented.

You're risking your life, but you're also wasting money if you don't update it. Because every day that passes in which the system is worthless is a day your paying for the service for nothing.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com [1]