Dialing procedures are changing in 36 states and 82 area codes in advance of the establishment of 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dial code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is set to take effect on July 16, 2022.
The announcement was made on behalf of the FCC by Somos, which is serving as the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA).
The order says in the impacted area codes customers with the 988 prefix and seven-digit local dialing must transition to 10-digit dialing (or 1+10 digit dialing in California and parts of Illinois). The order extends to telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, and one-way VoIP providers (covered providers).
In addition to Illinois (with three prefixes impacted) and California (seven impacted), the states and territories impacted are Alaska (one prefix), Alabama (one), Arizona (three), Colorado (two), Delaware (one), Florida (three plus Brevard County), Georgia (two), Guam (one), Hawaii (one), Indiana (two), Kansas (two), Kentucky (one), Louisiana (two), Missouri (four), Montana (one), Nevada (one), New Hampshire (one), New Jersey (two), New Mexico (two), North Carolina (one), Ohio (two), South Dakota (one), Tennessee (one), Texas (seven), Vermont (one), Virginia (two) and Washington (one).
In the press release about dialing procedures and the 988 suicide prevention line, Somos advises that safety and security equipment – including medical devices – be checked for their ability to support the new number schemes. Reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment must be done during the permissive dial period between April 24 and October 24. Permissive dialing is a status in which a call using a soon to be antiquated seven-digit number still will be completed. At the end of the period, calls must be made using the new scheme.
Examples of systems that must be reprogrammed besides security and safety services and devices include PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, speed dialers, mobile or other wireless phone contact lists, call forwarding settings and voicemail services.
In the order released on July 16, 2020, the FCC said that during the transition people who need help should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 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 www.veteranscrisisline.net or texting 838255.