The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted 988 as a new three-digit number to be used nationwide to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline, starting July 16, 2022. Until then, customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline. For 988 to work properly in our area code, and in several other area codes and states around the country, 10-digit local dialing needs to be implemented.
What is Changing?
All telephone customers may begin dialing 10 digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls on April 24, 2021. If you forget and dial just 7 digits, your local call will still be completed. The 10-Digit Dialing for local calls will become mandatory on October 24, 2021. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only 7 digits may not be completed, and a recording may inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. If you get this recording, hang up and dial again using the area code with the 7-digit telephone number.
In addition to changing the way you dial local calls, services and equipment programmed to complete calls to 7-digit local numbers need to be reprogrammed to 10-digit numbers. This could include numbers stored in:
- Life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
- Business PBX systems
- Speed dial lists
- Mobile phone contacts
- Call forwarding settings
- Voice mail services
- Fire or burglar alarm and security systems
- Fax machines
Please contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing. Any necessary reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment should be done during the permissive dialing period of April 24, 2021 and October 24, 2021 to avoid interruption of services.
Businesses should also check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information and other such items to make sure the area code is included. Everyone should also check your personal or pet ID tags.
What Will NOT Change?
Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change. The price of a call, coverage area, and other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change. If you are unsure whether a specific phone number is included under the Mid-Rivers Direct EAS (“Mid-Rivers to Mid-Rivers”) or other EAS plan, check using the Reverse Phone tab of the Mid-Rivers Online Directory or contact us. Calls that are local now will remain local regardless of the number of digits dialed.
You will continue to dial 1+ area code + telephone number for all long distance calls. You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services). Any 211, 311, 411, 511, 611 or 811 services available today can still be reached by dialing their three-digit codes.
For more information, please visit https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline.