New FCC Rule Requires 988 Calls Route To National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Beginning July 16, 2022

A new FCC rule effective July 16, 2022, requires all calls placed to 988 automatically route the caller to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). The rule was initially adopted July 16, 2020 and applies to all telecommunications carriers as well as all interconnected and one-way Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers in the US and its five major territories: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.

All phone systems–including PBX, VOIP, private systems and mobile platforms–must comply with the new rule before the deadline. To ensure calls to 988 reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, all covered providers must implement 10-digit dialing in areas that use seven-digit dialing and 988 as the first three numbers in seven-digit phone numbers. Text messages, on systems that support such functionality, must also route texts sent to 988 to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline by July 16, 2022.

While telephone systems are different and possess varying dial plans, all telephones–including those in hotel and conference rooms, shared facilities, medical centers, restaurants, stores and private offices–are subject to the new rule. Organizations are urged to comply with FCC order by the deadline, as the US suicide rate increased by 35 percent from 1999 to 2018, and the 988 dialing code is part of a larger government initiative to promote the crisis hotline and help at-risk populations receive critical assistance when needed.

Business owners are responsible for ensuring their telephone systems are compliant and should work with their telephone provider to confirm required updates are implemented. For more information, the FCC published this 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline Fact Sheet

Should you still have questions or need assistance updating your phone system or confirming compliance, call Louisville Geek at 502-897-7577 or email [email protected].