Dialing phone numbers in Mid-Michigan will require a few extra digits in April
10-digit dialing is required due to a change with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline coming in 2022
MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - Anyone dialing a phone number in much of Michigan will be required to include the area code for all calls beginning April 24.
All 10 digits of phone numbers will be required in the 616, 810, 989 and 906 area codes. The 810 and 989 area codes cover much of Mid-Michigan, the 616 area code covers West Michigan and the 906 area code covers the Upper Peninsula.
The Michigan Public Service Commission announced the 10-digit dialing requirement on Thursday as part of a new way to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The lifeline can be reached by dialing 988 beginning in July 2022, which requires changes to the U.S. phone system.
Area codes that have local phone numbers beginning with 988 as the first three digits have to transition to 10-digit dialing before the suicide prevention lifeline’s three-digit number launches. That includes the four area codes in Michigan.
Callers who forget the area code when they dial still will be connected until Oct. 24, when all 10 digits will be required to make any calls. After that date, callers who don’t use the area code will hear a recording that says the call cannot be completed as dialed.
“The schedule laid out by the FCC gives customers in the four affected area codes several months to adjust to the new requirement of dialing 10 digits,” said Ryan McAnany, acting director of the Michigan Public Service Commission’s Telecommunications Division. “A smooth transition will help ensure customers stay connected while getting ready for the ultimate enactment of 988 as an easy number for people struggling or contemplating suicide to connect to resources and help in a crisis.”
Flint resident Michael Gleason says he’s on board with this change but still has concerns.
“My only concern with the way that it’s been implemented, is that I believe the error message that was quoted was this number cannot be completed as dialed which to a lot of people that are perhaps uninformed or older, they may not understand that that is not leading to a disconnected number but rather that they need to hang up and recall,” Gleason said.
The Michigan Public Service Commission says the move to 10-digit dialing will affect medical alert devices, fire alarm systems and security alarms. Any users with those devices should make arrangements to have them reprogrammed if necessary.
Saved phone numbers, fax machines, remote voicemail devices and call forwarding settings also may require updates by Oct. 24.
Requiring area codes will not change anyone’s phone number or charges for making calls. Existing three-digit phone services like 911 and 211 will remain the same with no changes.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 now and after the 988 code takes effect.
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