Hawaii residents will soon need to start dialing ‘808’: Here’s what you need to know

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Local residents will soon need to start dialing 8-0-8 at the start of their calls. It’s all part of a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) effort to make contacting the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline easier.

The FCC adopted rule is set to go in effect on Oct. 24, 2021. Here is everything you need to know about making local calls.

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When will the change begin?

  • The change will go in effect on Oct. 24.

Why do I need to start dialing 8-0-8 to make a call locally?

  • On July 2020, the FCC adopted rules to establish the number 9-8-8 as the new, nationwide, three-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors.
  • To ensure that calls to 9-8-8 reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, certain parts of the country will need to transition to 10-digit dialing.
  • Several states are estimated to be affected, including Hawaii.

What can I do to prepare?

  • Beginning April 24, the FCC advises residents to begin dialing the full 10-digit number (area code and telephone number) for all local calls. This will help you be prepared by Oct. 24.
  • If you just dial seven digits, your call will still be completed. On and after Oct. 24, the call will not be completed.
  • Identify all non-mobile items you may own that utilize the seven-digit dialing system such as security alarms programmed to local numbers, contacts saved in your telephone under the seven-digit numbers, any speed dialing or automatic dialing equipment, medical monitoring devices, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, fire or burglar alarm and gates.

Who will be affected by this change?

  • Hawaii residents and people calling a Hawaii number.
  • Other states that are adopting the 10-digit system per the FCC rule.

Mobile callers will not be affected as mobile calls already require 10-digit dialing.

Can I start calling the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline by dialing 9-8-8 now?

  • No, the 9-8-8 number will not go in effect until July 16, 2022. Until then, customers will need to continue to dial 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. On and after July 16, 2022 dialing 9-8-8 will automatically route your call to the Lifeline. 

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