April marks the 10th annual National Safe Digging Month, an initiative put in place by the Common Ground Alliance to raise awareness about safe digging practices and the importance of calling 811 to prevent accidents, property damages and outages. As part of National Safe Digging Month, AGA encourages homeowners to take the following steps when planning a digging project:
- Call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
- Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
- Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
- If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines are not marked.
Striking an underground utility line while digging can cause harm to you or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, and potentially result in hefty fines and repair costs. A call must be placed to 811 before every digging project, from simple landscaping projects like planting trees or shrubs, to building a deck or installing a rural mailbox. Every six minutes an underground utility line or pipeline is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.
Throughout this month, AGA will be highlighting the creative ways local natural gas utilities are educating the public about this crucial, and potentially life-saving program on Twitter, Facebook and the True Blue Natural Gas blog. Let us know what your utility has planned by posting below or emailing Jackie Bavaro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on National Safe Digging Month, please click here.