Starting Sunday, Oct. 24, callers will be required to add the area code in order to complete their phone calls.
The new 10-digit dialing is due to the addition of the new “988” National Suicide Prevention Hotline that starts in 2022. Moving to 10-digit dialing was one of the steps necessary to create this hotline.
According to the FCC’s website, Americans who need help should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) and through online chats. Veterans and Service members may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing “1” after dialing, chatting online at veteranscrisisline.net, or texting 838255.
The new 10-digit dialing should not hinder area operations, including emergency services, according to local officials.
“We do not anticipate any issues or disruptions in our regular service,” Alachua County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Art Forey said.
All phone service providers will be required to direct all 988 calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022, stated the FCC’s website.
According to the FCC’s website, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator has a list of the states and area codes that will be affected. You can check the list to find out if your area code is one that will be transitioning by clicking here.
If you have one of those area codes, beginning on Oct. 24 you must dial 10 digits (area code plus telephone number) for all local calls. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only seven digits may not connect, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. You must hang up and dial again using the area code and the seven-digit number.
The FCC states the reason that the 10-digit dialing must take place is there are more phones in America than there are people, and each phone needs its own phone number. Beginning in the early 1990s, to accommodate the growing need for more phone numbers, some areas began to add a second area code for local calls. Dialing both the area code and the seven-digit number was necessary to ensure the call reached the intended recipient.