Think about how you dial a phone number when you’re in eastern Washington.
When you dial your phone to call someone with the area code 509, you do not need to dial the area code. But it changes. You will soon need to dial the area code before the number. In fact, starting October 24, if you make a call in area code 509 and don’t dial the area code, the call may not go through. In July 2022, service providers will completely remove seven-digit dialing from their networks, so they say they are getting used to dialing the 10-digit code today.
Why this change? A press release from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission indicates that the “Switching to the 10-digit numbering in 509 is a first step towards ensuring that everyone in the country can access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using a three-digit code of 988 which will be launched in 2022.
Requiring the area code will also ensure that customers who already have 988 as a prefix in their phone number have no difficulty making or receiving calls once the new three-digit dialing shortcut is launched. No phone number will change as a result of this order. “
The 509 area code is the last to make the change. In 2017, all area codes on the west side of the state changed to 10-digit numbering.
As of July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Until then, callers can reach the hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
36 states are in the process of switching to 10-digit dialing out of a total of 82 area codes to prepare for the 988 hotline.