Beyond 911: 7 other 3-digit phone numbers you should know
Not long after learning our ABC’s, we’re taught 9-1-1. This three-digit emergency number is one we all know well. In fact, the National Emergency Number Association reported that an estimated 240 million 911 calls are made each year in the United States.
Despite the familiarity of 911, the seven other N11 codes, established by the North American Numbering Plan and administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), are much less known to most people. Read on to learn more about these other three-digit numbers and how they provide callers with quick access to a variety of services.
2-1-1 – Community information and referral services
211 acts as a quick connection to resources in your area. 211 centers are housed with referral specialists that listen to your needs and connect you with those who can help. The types of referrals offered include basic human needs resources, physical and mental health resources, work support, translation services for non-English speakers, support for the elderly and the disabled, children and family support, and suicide prevention.
211 centers cover 94.6 percent of the U.S., and most TDS communities are included. To see if your area has established a center, visit 211.org.
3-1-1 – Non-emergency police and other governmental services
Too many non-emergency situations are reported to 911, which can distract from the actual emergencies. To report problems like an abandoned car, a fallen tree blocking traffic, a leaking fire hydrant, or graffiti, dial 311. These services aren’t available nationally, but many metro areas are covered.
4-1-1 – Directory assistance
TDS subscribers can dial 411 to connect with TDS’ directory assistance services. We can help you look up addresses and phone numbers and even find you local information like sports scores and movies playing near you. There is a small fee of $1.20 per call to use these services.
5-1-1 – Traffic and transportation information
511 is the traffic information hotline. By calling this number, you can find the latest traffic report on a specific route, road closures, weather reports, AMBER alerts, road construction updates, and information on public transportation. Check here to see if your area offers 511 services.
6-1-1 – Telephone company customer service
Dialing 611 connects you with your telephone service provider. If you’re a TDS subscriber, you’ll speak to a member of our customer service team.
7-1-1 – Telephone relay service
To connect to a Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) center for those with a hearing or speech disability, dial 711. Through TRS, the caller can use a text telephone to communicate. The trained agents at the center complete calls and can relay messages to the other party if necessary. With TDS, this service is unlimited and available 24 hours a day.
8-1-1 – Services to protect pipeline and utilities from excavation damage
If you plan to install a deck or patio, replace your mailbox, plant a tree, or do any other kind of digging in your yard, call 811 beforehand. Just inches below the surface, there could be electric, gas, sewer, or water utilities. Hitting these by mistake can be both dangerous and costly. When you dial this number, you’ll be connected to the underground locate organization in your area and within 48 hours, they will ensure the area is safe for digging.
New three-digit code on the way
In 2019, the FCC proposed a change to the 10-digit Suicide Prevention Hotline, and next summer it will be implemented. On July 16, 2022, the life-saving resources will be reachable by dialing 9-8-8.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States with an average of 132 Americans taking their own lives each day. Congress and the FCC hope that a shorter, easy-to-remember number will more efficiently provide people with help when they need it most.
Until July 16, 2022, people should continue to call 1-800-273-TALK to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.
By Hannah Drewieck, TDS Communications Intern