The PUC also recommends updating all contact lists ahead of the deadlines. “An unfortunate byproduct of establishing an easy-to-use suicide prevention hotline number is the requirement for all of us to use the full 10 digits, which includes the area code, when dialing a phone number,” says Chris Nelson, chairman of the PUC. The PUC also reminds everyone to update or reprogram all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls using only seven-digit phone numbers. “These can include smart home devices, home security systems, medical monitoring devices, calling networks within companies, and call forwarding or voicemail services, just to name a few,” says the PUC’s vice chairperson, Kristie Fiegen.
The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission announced that beginning on April 24, South Dakotans are encouraged to use 10-digit dialing (605 area code + phone number) to make local phone calls. Ten digits will be required as early as October 24, 2021, and no later than July 15, 2022, depending on the telephone provider. The PUC says this is the first step in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) move to establish 988 as the three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
“South Dakota is not the only state required to make the change,” says PUC commissioner Gary Hanson. “Nationwide, over 80 area codes in 36 states will be affected.”
Starting July 16, 2022, dialing 988 will route your call to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Until then, customers who need to reach the Lifeline must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255)