Effective October 24, 2021, callers in Vermont and most other states must use the area code in making any call. This means people will need to dial 802 for all calls in Vermont, even for local ones. This is part of an upgrade to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
On July 16, 2020, the approved 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline began. That means that in area codes across the country, including Vermont, where 988 is a working prefix, callers must transition to 10-digit local dialing. Once complete, 988 will operate in the same manner as 911 (emergency services) and 211 (community help services).
Kurt Gruendling at Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, Waitsfield, said the company has not received complaints or concerns from its customers, yet.
“I’m sure it will happen on the cutover date. Both dialing patterns will continue to work until October 24. My guess is that will be the day that we hear from customers. Our plan is to ramp up customer education prior to that,” he said.
Information from the company’s website indicates that the price of a call, coverage area or other rates and services will not change due to this dialing change. However, all services, automatic dialing equipment or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls to seven-digit local numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit number.
To complete all local calls, people will now need to dial 802 + telephone number or 1 + 802 + telephone number. This applies to all calls within the 802 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits.
In addition to changing the way people dial local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls to seven-digit local numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit (or 1+10-digit) numbers, including the area code. Some examples are: life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, fire or burglar alarm systems, other security systems or gates, speed dialers, mobile or other wireless phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services and other similar functions.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255).