If you have placed a call lately and had to dial a phone number, you may have noticed typing the usual seven digits gets you one of those...do, do, do. "You must first dial the area code to complete this call. Please try again." What's that all about? Seriously? Now we have to type ninety-nine numbers to make a LOCAL call.

Yup! We sure do. But it is for a darn good reason. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has created a new three-digit nationwide number, 988, to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. This change was official on July 16, 2022. By the way, customers can still dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline.

However, for 988 to work in area codes across the country, 10-digit local dialing had to be implemented. If your area code is included in the list below, you must change how you dial local numbers. This includes all numbers in your local area with seven digits.

This change started on April 24, 2021, and became mandatory for all local calls on July, 16,2023. If you haven't done so already, reprogram all your landline, mobile and wireless contacts to dial the area code (10-digit numbers.) Otherwise, you will have problems with connections. Also, here is an important fact for all caretakers and families helping elderly parents or friends.

All services and automatic dialing equipment programmed to complete calls to 7-digit local numbers must be reprogrammed with 10-digit numbers. This means fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, or printers. Even forwarding settings, voicemail services, and other similar functions.

This goes for life safety systems or medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fire or burglar alarms, and security systems or gates. If you run a business, implement these changes on your websites, letterhead, stationary and contact info. Don't forget dog, cat, or pet tags either.

Courtesy of DFT Communications here is a list of the states and area codes where Mandatory 10-Digit Dialing has been implemented:

Alaska 907
Alabama 251
Arkansas 501
Arizona 480, 520, 928
California 209, 530, 562, 626, 650, 707, 925, 949, 951
Colorado 719, 970
Delaware 302
Florida 321(Brevard County), 352, 561, 941
Georgia 478, 912
Guam 671
Hawaii 808
Illinois 309, 618, 708
Indiana 219, 574
Minnesota 218, 952
Mississippi 662
Missouri 314, 417, 660, 816
Montana 406
Nevada 775
New Hampshire 603
New Jersey 856, 908
New Mexico 505, 575
New York 516, 607, 716, 845, 914
North Carolina 910
Ohio 440, 513
South Dakota 605
Tennessee 731, 865
Texas 254, 361,409, 806,830, 915, 940
Kansas 620, 785
Kentucky 859
Vermont 802
Virginia 276, 804
Louisiana 337, 504
Michigan 616, 810, 906, 989
Washington 509
Wisconsin 262, 414, 608, 920

• There are no charges with the new dialing change.

• For long-distance calls you will continue to dial 1+ area code + telephone number.

• Three-digit numbers to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services) will remain the same. This includes all three-digit codes

For info about the 10-digit dialing mandate call DFT Communications at 716-673-3000 or check them out online at www.dftcommunications.com.

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