All telephone users in the 219 and 574 area codes of northern Indiana are encouraged to start using 10-digit dialing this month to make local phone calls instead of seven digits. NITCO says its customers can start using 10-digit dialing immediately. The full transition will be mandatory by October 24th of this year. The Federal Communications Commission is requiring this change to accommodate the implementation of the national “988” National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which will be fully applied by July 16, 2022. Region residents are advised to make sure all preprogrammed numbers for local calls are set to include the area code (like fax machines, life safety systems, etc.), and that websites, stationery, checks, pet tags, etc. also include area code. In addition, NITCO says any safety and security equipment must be programmed to include 10-digit local dialing unless they’re already directed to long-distance or toll-free. Customers are encouraged to begin this process as soon after April 24, 2021, as possible. For more information visit the NITCO website at www.nitco.com/10Digit .