New 9-8-8 Hotline Will Require 10-Digit Dialing in New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted 988 as a new three-digit number to be used nationwide to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline, starting July 16, 2022. In order for 988 to work in your area code, 10-digit local dialing must be implemented. If your area code is in New Hampshire, Vermont, or in some select areas of New York listed below, you will need to change the way you dial local calls.

What will be the new dialing procedure?

To complete all local calls, you will now need to dial area code + telephone number. This applies to all calls within your area code that are currently dialed with seven digits.

Who will be affected?

Anyone with a telephone number in the following areas will need to adopt using this mandatory change from 7-digit local dialing to 10-digit local dialing:
  • All of New Hampshire (603 area code)
  • All of Vermont (802 area code)
  • New York area codes of 516, 607, 716, 845, and 914

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 10-digit (area code + telephone number) dialing will be mandatory for all local calls. Beginning on this date, local calls dialed with only 7-digits will not be completed. Instead the caller will hear a recording informing them that their call cannot be completed as dialed. The caller must hang up and dial using all 10 digits (area code + 7-digit number). Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route your call to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.

What will you need to do?

In addition to changing the way you dial local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls to 7-digit local numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit numbers. Some examples are life safety systems or medical monitoring devices, PBXs, 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.

What will remain 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+ area code + telephone number for all long distance calls.
  • 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 will still be reached by dialing their three-digit codes.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) until the new 3-digit number is active on July 16, 2022.

Who may you contact with questions?

If you have any questions regarding information provided in this notice, please call FirstLight Customer Service at 1-888-832-4976 or visit the FirstLight customer service page for more information. You can also visit the FCC website Suicide Prevention Hotline.