SARASOTA, Fla. — Starting soon, you'll have to tack on a few extra numbers — your area code — to make a local phone call in many locations in Florida and across the country.
Not everyone has to, and it's for an important reason: Phone companies say it's in preparation for the new "988" number to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.
In Florida, starting on Sunday, Oct. 24, you need to dial the area code in addition to the phone number (or 1 + the area code + the phone number) for all local calls. It affects these following codes:
- 321 in Brevard County
On and after Oct. 24, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon each say you may get a recorded message that your call cannot be completed as dialed without one of those area codes attached to the whole phone number.
Starting on July 16, 2022, dialing "988" will allow people to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.
The phone companies recommend checking your phone's contacts to make sure they have the full numbers. In addition, it's not a bad idea to look at life safety systems, fire/burglar alarms, voicemail services and the like to ensure they, too, are set up to dial out properly.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will continue to be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Wireless customers can dial "988" to reach the Lifeline now.
All of the companies say your local phone number, plus its current area code, will not change in this process.
Anyone with more questions can visit the Federal Communication Commission's website.