People with a 562 area code will have to start dialing all 10 numbers, including the area code, for local calls beginning on Oct. 24.
The reason is that a new crisis lifeline for suicide prevention and mental health episodes has been established, using three digits, 988, as the number. The 562 area code is one of 82 nationwide that includes phone numbers that begin with 988, so users will have to use the area code first so that they don’t inadvertently call the crisis line.
The Federal Communications Commission ordered the change.
Calls placed from landlines and wirelines will also require 11-digit local dialing in the format of 1, plus the area code and telephone number.
Officials recommend mobile users update their saved contact lists in compliance with the new calling format, and reprogram automatic dialing settings and other equipment.
Residents should also check personal and business stationary, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, personal and pet identification tags and other such items to ensure the area code is included.
Residents will continue to dial 911 directly in the event of an emergency requiring a police, fire or emergency medical response.
Although the dialing change happens this month for the 562 area code, the 988 dialing shortcut will not take effect nationwide until July 16, 2022. Until then, residents wishing to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline must continue to dial 1-800-273- 8255 (TALK).
Other area codes impacted by the new dialing rule in California include 209, 530, 626, 650, 707, 925, 949 and 951 area codes. After Oct. 24, local calls dialed with only seven digits will reach a recording that the call cannot be completed as dialed. Callers must hang up and dial again using the correct dialing format.
For additional information, visit the FCC website.