Phone customers with 618 area codes should start adding them to their local calls beginning on April 24, advises the Federal Communication Commission. Seven-digit phone numbers will not go through for this and the 309 and 708 area codes after October 24.
Customers will not have to change phone numbers and the price of the call will not change.
This is to ensure people will be able to use the abbreviated dialing code 988 to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting in July 2022.
All local customers in the 618 and 908 area codes should start dialing their area code plus the telephone number for all local calls and 1 plus area code plus telephone number for local calls in the 708 area code.
All services and automatic dialing and other equipment (life safety systems, fax machines, fire or burglar alarms), mobile contact lists, call forwarding, etc.) that are programmed to complete local calls using only 7-digit numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit numbers.
All telecommunications carriers, Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and one-way VoIP providers (covered providers) are ordered by the Federal Communications Commission to make any network changes necessary to support 988 as the abbreviated dialing code for the hotline.
The FCC has also ordered any area code that has a 988 prefix assigned and has 7-digit local dialing to be transitioned to 10-digit local dialing. This affects 37 states and 83 area codes.
Until 988 becomes its new number, the National Suicide Prevention hotline may be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To learn more about the hotline visit the FCC website at https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline.