South Dakotans should start getting used to dialing 10 digits when making local phone calls.
The Federal Communications Commission adopted last summer an order approving the designation of 988 as the 3-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This designation will require South Dakota residents to transition to 10-digit dialing for local phone calls.
Key dates to remember
October 24, 2021: Callers should dial 10 digits for all local calls. Some phone providers might not complete 7-digit calls starting on this date.
July 15, 2022: Callers must dial 10 digits to make local calls. No phone providers will complete seven-digit calls after this date.
July 16, 2022: All 988 calls will be routed to the suicide prevention hotline. Prior to July 16, 2022, those wishing to reach the Suicide Lifeline must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
In some states like South Dakota, 988 is a prefix for some local phone numbers. Therefore, if a caller tried dialing 988-1111 after 988 becomes the suicide helpline number, the call would be sent to the suicide helpline. Dialing the 10-digit phone number will prevent calls from being misdirected.
Alliance recommends that customers get in the habit of dialing the 605 area code plus the 7-digit phone number to make local calls.
What other changes will customers need to make?
Callers might need to reprogram automatic dialing equipment to complete local calls using 10 digits. Some examples are:
- Life safety systems or medical monitoring devices (like LifeAlert)
- Private Branch Exchanges, or PBXs
- Fax machines
- Fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates
- Speed dialers
- Mobile or other phone contact lists
- Call forwarding settings
- Voicemail services and other similar functions
Update the programmed call settings on contact lists, home security systems, wearable alarms and calling networks within companies to ensure they continue working properly. Also check contact information on websites, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, personal or pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included.
What can customers expect to stay the same?
Telephone numbers, including current area code, will not change. The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services also will not change. What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits someone dials.
Callers will continue to dial 1+ the area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls. They also 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.
Callers 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.
If someone forgets to dial 605 after 10-digit dialing is required, the customer will receive this message: “Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please hang up and include the area code when calling this number.”
For more information, call 611 from any phone with Alliance service or (605) 582-6311. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission also provides additional information here.