On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. The rules require phone service providers to direct all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022. To ensure that calls to 988 reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, certain parts of the Ohio will need to transition to 10-digit dialing.
What does this mean for consumers?
There will be a new dialing procedure for areas of the Ohio that use 7-digit dialing and 988 is used as the first three numbers in seven-digit phone numbers. To complete all local calls, consumers will need to dial their area code + telephone number. This applies to all area codes where local calls are currently dialed with 7 digits (NXX-XXXX) and have 988 as a possible first three digits (NXX). The new dialing pattern applies to all local calls in the 440 and 513 area codes. No additional dialing changes will be required for wireless customers who currently dial 10 digits for local calls in the 440 and 513 area codes.
During the transition to 988, 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 the Veteran's Crisis Line, or texting 838255.
Who will be affected by this change?
Anyone with a telephone number in the 440 and 513 areas codes will need to change from 7-digit local dialing to 10-digit local dialing. The new dialing pattern applies to all local calls in the affected area codes.
What stays the same?
- 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 due to the dialing change
- What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed
- You will continue to dial 1+ the area code + 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 (i.e., in a hotel, office building, etc.) as required
- You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services)
- Any 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, or 811 services available in your community can still be reached by dialing their three-digit codes
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) even after the 988 code is in effect.
What other changes need to be made?
In addition to changing your dialing patterns, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete local calls using only 7-digit numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit numbers. Some examples are:
- life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
- 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
- voicemail services and other similar functions
Be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, your personal or pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included.
When will the change begin?
Beginning April 24, 2021, you should begin dialing 10 digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. If you forget and dial just 7 digits, your call will still be completed.
Beginning October 24, 2021, you must dial 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only 7-digits may not be completed, 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 7-digit number.
Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route your call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Who can I contact with more questions?
If you have any questions, please contact your local service provider for more information. You can also visit the FCC website.