All phone users with a 520 area code will be required to use the area code while dialing local numbers beginning Oct. 24, 2021. This change also applies to the 480 and 928 area codes in Arizona.
The FCC is recommending that callers with numbers in these area codes use 10-digit dialing in all cases now, but if they dial seven digits to reach numbers within their local calling area the call will still go through, in most cases.
In October, 10 digits will become mandatory, and calls made without the area code may not go through, with the dialer hearing a recorded message indicating so.
All saved local numbers will have to be reprogrammed to include the area code if they don’t already. Some examples this could apply to include:
- Mobile or other wireless phone contact lists
- Life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
- Fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates
- Call forwarding settings
- Voicemail services
- Fax machines
- Internet dial-up numbers
- Speed dialers
This change is necessitated by the adoption of “988” as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, similar to 911 for emergency response calls.
All U.S. area codes that have not transitioned to mandatory 10-digit dialing and use 988 as a telephone number prefix have been mandated by the FCC to adopt 10-digit dialing to ensure there would be no conflicts for people trying to reach the suicide hotline.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will become accessible via 988 on July 16, 2022. Until that date callers must dial 800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the suicide prevention line. This toll-free number will continue to work after the abbreviated code is activated.
The number is intended for anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress and those trying to help them. Calls are routed to the nearest crisis center for immediate counseling and access to local mental health services.