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Beginning April 30, the University community will dial “7” instead of “9” to make an outside call from a landline.

The change, which affects both University and UNC Health Care System landlines, is designed to reduce misdialed or hang-up 911 calls, saving both time and money.

Public safety officials estimate that they receive nearly 4,900 mistaken 911 calls each year at an annual cost of more than $48,000 to verify that each call is not a true emergency. Changing the dial-out prefix to “7” should substantially reduce these calls – and the cost associated with them – and allow public safety officers to focus on genuine safety situations, said Lt. Col. George Hare, deputy director of public safety.

The Department of Public Safety, in conjunction with ITS Communication Technologies, has worked with AT&T to implement the change for Carolina. To give people time to adjust to dialing “7” instead of “9,” there will be an overlap period in which both numbers will work.

ITS Communication Technologies is working directly with people who have automated equipment that relies on a dial-out prefix so they can be notified to reprogram their equipment.

People with questions can call 919-962-HELP and select the option for telephone requests or they can submit questions to

The dial-out prefix change is part of Carolina Counts, the University-wide initiative to improve the efficiency of campus operations and reduce administrative costs, based on key recommendations from the 2009 Bain & Company study. Carolina Counts plays a key role in the University’s budget strategy.