Have a 509 phone number? You’ll have to dial the area code first to make a call

10-digit dialing coming to Eastern Washington
phone call 509 area code 10 Digit Dialing

KENNEWICK, Wash. — You soon won’t be able to dial (or tap, as it were) a seven-digit number to make a local phone call.

Starting October 24, we’re transitioning to 10-digit dialing here in the ‘509’ and several other area codes across the U.S.

A 10-digit dialed phone call requires entering the three-digit area code + seven-digit phone number to complete the call.

Why is this happening? Because a new number — “988” — has been created; it works like 911, but for mental health crises and suicide prevention.

In order for “988” to work, the Federal Communications Commission says 82 area codes in 35 states must make a change, because they use “988” as their local exchange and allow seven-digit dialing.

Plus, the powers that be in the federal government and the telephone industry don’t want you accidentally dialing “988” while making normal calls.

“Because some numbers are similar to that, because it’s close and has got a ‘9’ in it, they want to avoid people dialing mistakenly,” explained Cheryl McCollum, associate manager of communications at TDS Telecom.

Once an area code moves to 10-digit dialing, if you forget to put in the area code first, you’ll hear an automated voice correct you, which will likely annoy a lot of people unless you get used to it now (it’ll work: 10-digit dialing for local calls has been enabled here since April 24).

Though tedious, you may want to add the area code to the beginning of all of your contacts. Yes, take a seat, pull out your phone and add it to each — not fun, but necessary by October 24 or else you’ll get the recording of shame — think “your call cannot be completed as dialed…”

FROM 2017: Western Washington getting new 564 area code

And it’s not just your mobile phone that you have to worry about.

If you have a home security system set up to dial a seven-digit number, or an alarm system that dials out, or call forwarding, you’ll need to make the necessary changes to upgrade to 10 digits.

The same thing applies to certain safety systems, medical monitoring devices, security gates, speed dialers, call forwarding and other features.

FROM 2016: New area code for Western Washington

If your company uses a PBX or VoIP phone system, you may need to update or reprogram it, the FCC says.

Your phone number and area code will not change, but your habits will need to, as well as anything that uses or displays your phone number if it does not currently include the area code.


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