Mandatory Change Coming for Phone Numbers With 845, 914 Area Code
If your phone number starts with 845 or 914, you're going to need to make a big change this October.
Back in 2000, the 845 area code was born. For those of you who were in the Hudson Valley when 914 split into 845 you probably remember how much of a headache it was. Remembering which friends were 914 or 845 was a chore, and those who had an 845 home number and a 914 cell phone were constantly confused over whether they had to use an area code or not.
Twenty years later, the Hudson Valley is in for another phone number change. But this time the fix may be a little more complicated than just remembering the right number. Starting this month, the FCC is asking everyone with 845 and 914 numbers to dial the full 10-digit phone number when calling anyone, even if you're in the same area code. That means that people with an 845 number will now have to dial 845 when making a local call.
The good news is that we rarely dial actual numbers anymore, but those contacts you have stored in your phone will need to be reprogrammed. Verizon warns that customers should also remember to change numbers programmed into safety systems and medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, fire and burglar alarm systems, speed dial buttons, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and other automatic services.
The change is due to the rollout of a new national suicide prevention hotline in 2022. The new 988 emergency number will work the same way 911 does but deal specifically with people who are suicidal. Because 988 is an exchange that is already used in the Hudson Valley, calling someone with a number that starts with those digits would automatically go to the suicide hotline instead of the number of the person you're trying to call. For that reason, everyone will now have to dial the full 10-digit number for every call.
Phone customers should start dialing 10-digit numbers immediately. Everyone in the 845 and 914 area code should dial the area code plus the phone number to reach their party. If you forget, the call will still go through for now, but that will change on October 24, 2021. On that date, calls dialed without using the area code will be greeted with a recording, reminding callers that they will need to hang up and use the full 10 digit number.
The national suicide prevention hotline will go live on July 16, 2022. After that date, anyone who calls 988 will be directed to the crisis center. Until then, those who need their services should continue to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).