The time is quickly approaching for telephone users in Michigan’s 616, 810, 906, and 989 area codes to include an area code with every phone call — known as 10-digit dialing — in preparation for the rollout of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
In just one month, beginning October 24, all phone customers with numbers in the affected Michigan area codes above must dial 10 digits for all local calls. Calls that don’t include an area code will not be completed. Instead, a recording may inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. If you receive this recording, you must hang up and dial again using the area code with the 7-digit telephone number. That day also marks the end of the permissive dialing period that began in April in which calls dialed with either 7 digits or 10 digits would still be completed.
Livingston County Central Dispatch is reminding residents to be sure to check their website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, personal or pet ID tags and other such items to ensure the area code is included. Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing by Oct. 24. Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default, but some older equipment may still use 7 digits. 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.
Other examples of services that may need to be re-programmed include:
• Life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
• PBX business telephone systems
• Fax machines
• Internet dial-up numbers
• Fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates
• Speed dialers
• Mobile or other wireless phone contact lists
• Call forwarding settings, and
• Voicemail services and other similar functions
What will not change?
• Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
• The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change.
• A local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
• You will continue to dial 1 plus the area code and the telephone number for all long-distance calls.
• You will continue to dial a prefix such as 9 when dialing from a multi-line telephone system (in a hotel or office building, for example) as required.
• You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 for relay services and 911 for emergency services.
• If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611 or 811 are currently available in your community, you may still dial these codes with just three digits.
• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) even after the 988 code is in effect.
The Federal Communications Commission in July 2020 designated 988 as the abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources, and best practices for professionals. The FCC’s order requires all telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, and one-way VoIP providers (covered providers) to make any network changes necessary to ensure that users can dial 988 to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022. Until then, customers should continue to dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to contact the Lifeline.
In order for 988 to dial directly to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, any area code that includes the 988 prefix must transition from 7-digit dialing (dialing without the area code) to 10-digit dialing (area code with the telephone number). In Michigan, that means every customer in the 616, 810, 906, and 989 area codes must make the transition. Customers in other Michigan area codes aren’t affected by these changes.