10 Digits — Not 7 — Are Required When Dialing in Greater Cincinnati Starting Oct. 24

The change makes room for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's upcoming three-digit hotline.

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click to enlarge Cincinnatians soon will dial 10 digits, not seven, when making a phone call. - Photo: Anna Shvets, Pexels
Photo: Anna Shvets, Pexels
Cincinnatians soon will dial 10 digits, not seven, when making a phone call.

Your fingers soon will get a bit more of a workout when dialing a phone.

Beginning Sunday, Oct. 24, residents within Greater Cincinnati (including Northern Kentucky) must dial 10 digits for all numbers, including local ones. The days of leaving off the area code and simply dialing seven numbers are gone!

In 2020, former U.S. President Donald Trump signed bipartisan legislation allowing a three-digit number for mental health crises. The Federal Communications Commission later assigned 988 as the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The three-digit number will begin running on July 16, and all numbers beginning with 988 will be routed to the hotline. This, the FCC says, will allow people in distress to remember the number and reach help faster than they might by dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's full phone number of 1-800-273-TALK.

That's where local dialing changes come in. To ensure that there is ample time to route connections to where they need to go and for people to become used to new dialing situations, the FCC has asked all local carriers to implement 10-digit dialing this month, particularly in areas where 988 may be the first numbers after an area code.

In Cincinnati, users will dial area code 513 and then the seven-digit number. The process will be the same in Northern Kentucky, which has an area code of 859. Long-distance dialers will dial a 1 before all 10-digit numbers.

Those who dial seven digits instead of 10 after Oct. 24 may not be able to connect. Users will hear a recording asking them to hang up and include the area code in their dialing, the FCC says.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's original number of 1-800-273-TALK will remain in effect after the transition.

Read the FCC's full explanation and timeline of the dialing plan.

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