Change is coming … to the way local calls are dialed. Starting April 24, 2021, when making any phone call, consumers should dial 10 digits –– the area code plus the phone number. Calls without 10 digits will still be completed until October 24, 2021, after which calls without the extra three digits will not connect. The change to a 10-digit dialing system must be made to accommodate the implementation of the new 988 National Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline on July 16, 2021.
After October 24, a local prefix will not be enough to connect a call to the neighbor next door or anyone else in the 620 area code, either on a cell phone or a landline. If the area code is not utilized when making a call, a recording will warn consumers the call cannot be completed as dialed. Simply hang up and dial again using the area code and the seven-digit number. It’s not just Kansas’ 620 and 785 area codes, many other areas in the U.S. are also implementing this change as well.
In addition to the change in dialing local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment programmed to complete calls to a seven-digit local number need to be reprogrammed to the new 10-digit dialing system. Some examples are life safety systems or medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, fire or burglar alarms and security systems, speed dialers, mobile or wireless phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions. Remember to check personal and business stationery, advertising material, personal and business checks, contact information, personal and pet ID tags, and other items listing a phone number. At least some things NOT changing with this new system:
- Telephone numbers, including the current area code.
- The price of a call, coverage area and other rates and services.
- Three digits calls such as 911 (emergency) and 711 (relay services), in addition to any 211, 311, 411, 511, 611 or 811 services available in your community.
- Local calls will remain local calls regardless of the number of digits dialed.
- For long-distance calls, continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number.
- To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).