Category Archives: 811

Lori Traweek AGA Marks National Safe Digging Month with Natural Gas Video for Children

Safety is the top priority for the American Gas Association (AGA) and our more than 200 member companies across the country. It is the very reason AGA co-founded the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an organization dedicated to educating professionals and homeowners about the importance of following safe digging procedures, in 2000.

811logowithshovel 227x300 AGA Marks National Safe Digging Month with Natural Gas Video for ChildrenThis April marks the seventh annual National Safe Digging Month, an initiative put in place by the CGA to remind the public to “Call Before You Dig” to determine where your underground utility lines are located before beginning any digging project. To get started, dial 811 to be connected to your local One Call Center which will gather information about the project and alert your local utility company. Crews will then locate the utility lines near your planned project and make sure they are properly marked so you can be sure to avoid them. The process is fast, simple and free.

People digging often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked due to concerns about project delays, costs and previous calls about other projects. These assumptions can be life-threatening.

Every digging job requires a call – even small projects like planting trees or shrubs. If you hit an underground utility line while digging, you can harm yourself or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood and potentially be responsible for fines and repair costs.

According to the CGA, excavation damages for all underground facilities have decreased by approximately 50 percent since 2004, thanks in large part to the engaging and innovative outreach of “Call 811” campaigns by local natural gas utilities.

Promoting safe digging awareness is just one of the many ways America’s natural gas utilities continuously work to keep communities safe and to help ensure our distribution and transmission system continues to be the safest and most reliable method of delivering energy in the nation.

In conjunction with this month’s focus on safety, AGA released a YouTube video today to help educate youth about the importance of natural gas safety in the home. The animated video, aimed at elementary and middle school aged children, explains which appliances use natural gas, how to identify a natural gas leak and what to do if a leak occurs. These key safety messages are not only critical to family and caregivers, but the next generation of utility customers. Feel free to share the video on your company’s social media platforms.

video screen shot with play button 300x204 AGA Marks National Safe Digging Month with Natural Gas Video for Children

Click the play button above to watch the video on YouTube.

We’d also like to encourage you to share your company’s plans for National Safe Digging Month in the comments section below or by e-mailing ldundon@aga.org. AGA will feature member companies on our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as future blog posts throughout April.

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Christina Nyquist Recapping 811 Day 2013

Find out how your local natural gas utility promoted safe digging and how you can win a trip to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series World RV Sales 500.

August 11 has come and gone, which means another National 811 Day has too. But don’t worry – we have a recap in case you missed out, and there are still some great deals and ways to celebrate.

811 is the national “Call Before You Dig” number, created to help avoid accidental damage to utility lines caused by digging activity. With excavation damage still the leading cause of costly and sometimes fatal pipeline incidents, it’s important to remind communities about the importance of calling 811 before undertaking any type of digging activity.

Every year, as part of their commitment to safety, American Gas Association (AGA) member companies throughout the country promote 811 Day in their own unique ways. Last Sunday marked the seventh year that utilities, communities and other stakeholders have joined together to promote and celebrate  811 Day, and the fifth year for the national effort led by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), of which AGA is a founding member.

811 day Texas 811 300x225 Recapping 811 Day 2013

811 Day at the San Antonio Missions minor league baseball game.
Photo Courtesy: Facebook CGA and Texas811

Here are some highlights:

  • Baltimore Gas & Electric lit up downtown Baltimore with their impressive window light display. BGE also promoted 811 Day through various social media channels, a Safe Digging video, and a press release.
  • Vectren supported the new CGA TV spot “Don’t Ignore,” and also aided efforts to deliver cakes to TV and radio stations around Indiana to spread the 811 Day message.
  • Pacific Gas & Electric held several community and media outreach events at Home Depot stores that included: Picarro Surveyor vehicle demonstrations, gas and electric demonstration boards, hourly raffle draws, mark-and-locate demonstrations to provide a look at how PG&E marks its underground lines when 811 is called, and information and giveaways.
  • CenterPoint, Xcel Energy and Alliant Energy sponsored an 8.11K run/walk in Minnesota which was followed by a safety day event full of giveaways and Call Before You Dig messages.
  • Black Hills Energy helped promote 811 Day during an Iowa Cubs game on August 11. Ticket prices for the first 1,000 reserved tickets were sold for $8.11 and 1,000 additional general admission tickets were distributed to the public through several events.

Many other organizations and individuals chipped in to support 811 Day, and are still offering promotions you can take part in. Here are a few of the standout examples:

  • Beggars Pizza in Illinois and Indiana is offering small one-topping thin crust pizzas for $8.11 on Mondays through the entire month of August.
  • CGA and the 3M manufacturing company are working together to promote 811 through the Diggin’ Dega Sweepstakes effort. Beginning August 6 and running through September 13, fans who visit www.diggindega.com can enter to win a VIP trip for two to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, October 20, including airfare, two nights’ hotel stay, ground transportation while in Alabama and
    $500 spending money. To enter the sweepstakes, just “like” the Call Before You Dig page on Facebook.
  • This year the awesome 811 Bike made an appearance at the Oregon Utility Notification Center’s booth during the Bite of Oregon culinary event in Portland, Oregon.
  • 811 Runs were held in Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina and Kansas.
  • Texas 811 spread the safe digging message by sponsoring the August 11 Houston Astros baseball game against the Texas Rangers. Planes featured an 811 safety message banner flew over the park both before and after the game, and CGA President Bob Kipp threw out the first pitch.
  • A season-long promotion of 811 at the Kentucky Speedway has been underway since June.
  • John Tendell, a musician who works at the Utility Notification Center of Colorado got really creative and came up with an 811 song, entitled “811 Call Before You Dig.” To hear a short demo of the song, listen here.

811 Day is not the only dedicated time to remind people to practice safe digging. April is National Safe Digging Month (NSDM), and plenty of reminder events take place every year during the month. Many utility companies air PSAs and TV spots to promote safe digging, especially during planting season. The 811 Bike travels throughout the country, and community events are held in many cities and towns.

August 11 has passed, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to join in the effort to make a difference. You can (and should) still make the 811 Promise to help protect your community and keep your family safe and connected to critical services.

We can dig it, can you?  (Please call 811 before you do!)

 *Communications & Marketing Department Intern Terence Edelman contributed to this story.

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Christina Nyquist 811 Day is Less Than One Week Away: 10 Ways to Celebrate and Save Lives

August 11 is National 811 Day. Call 811 before you dig to reduce pipeline damage.

811logowithshovel 811 Day is Less Than One Week Away: 10 Ways to Celebrate and Save LivesDid you know there are more than 2 million miles of natural gas pipelines across the United States? This network makes up the safest energy delivery system in the country, and every day, customers and businesses rely on their local gas utilities to safely deliver the domestically-produced, clean, affordable natural gas they need to go about their lives. Safety is the top priority for the American Gas Association and its member companies, and the industry spends millions of dollars annually to upgrade and modernize natural gas infrastructure to ensure the safety of their customers and communities.

But third-party excavation damage – pipeline damage caused when a pipe is accidentally struck by equipment or activity related to digging such as that associated with construction activity, planting or home repair – is the leading cause of incidents in the natural gas pipeline system. Failing to take simple precautions to locate lines and dig safely can result in millions of dollars in damage, power loss and even injury or death.

The good news is this record is improving thanks to greater public awareness about safe digging practices, and the inception of the national Call Before You Dig campaign. All you and your neighbors have to do to help prevent pipeline damage is to dial three numbers – 811 – when planning a digging-related activity. Your local One Call center will notify your utility, which will send a locator to mark the location of your underground lines, pipes and cables so you can know where to avoid digging. This will save headaches, money – and most importantly – lives.

There are so many ways you can celebrate 811 Day this Sunday, August 11, and help spread the word. Here are 10:

  1. Make the 811 Promise.
  2. Listen to the 811 Song. Maybe do a little dance – we won’t judge.
  3. Watch an 811 video like this one, this one or this one.
  4. Find out if your local natural gas utility is hosting any 811 Day events. For example, Baltimore Gas & Electric will light up the sky and Pacific Gas and Electric is sponsoring several community events.
  5. Bake 811 Day cookies and share them with your friends or coworkers.
  6. At the beach? Draw 811 in the sand.
  7. Look out for 811 stickers, ads, posters or events. Maybe you’ll even spy the 811 Bike.
  8. Paint your nails like this dedicated One Call Center employee.
  9. If you bake cookies, draw in the sand, see a poster or do anything else, take a picture and let us know on Twitter or Facebook. Our favorite photos will be featured in a future blog post.
  10. Most importantly, spread the word. Tell your friends and neighbors to make the 811 promise, and always call before you dig.
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Christina Nyquist What is Your Natural Gas Utility doing to Help Prevent Pipeline Damage?

April has flown by and believe it or not, we’re almost to the end of National Safe Digging Month (NSDM). All month, your local utility has been busy getting the word out in your community about the simple steps everyone should take to help prevent pipeline damage and accidents. Homeowners, construction workers and landscapers must remember to Call 811, the free telephone call to locate utility lines, before beginning any type of digging project large or small. Excavation damage is the leading cause of all pipeline accidents, so dialing these three numbers really can make a difference in helping to save lives and prevent property damage.

Natural gas utilities work to get this message out through bill inserts, social media, local newspapers, and TV and radio stations, especially during NSDM. Some have found even more creative ways to spread the word to the public. Alliant Energy lit up the Iowa night sky with their safety message, illuminating the building windows with 811. At 21 floors high, Alliant Energy’s building is the tallest in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, making it a prime location for this important message.

811 300x165 What is Your Natural Gas Utility doing to Help Prevent Pipeline Damage?

Piedmont Natural Gas in North Carolina teamed up with local Girl Scouts, as well as a neighborhood hardware and garden store for a day of “tree tagging” to remind gardeners to call 811 before they begin spring projects. The Girl Scouts worked with the manager of The Gardens of Blackhawk Hardware to tag trees and shrubs with 811 notices.

Girl Scouts 300x300 What is Your Natural Gas Utility doing to Help Prevent Pipeline Damage? And Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in California is spearheading efforts to set up 811 Task Forces with local emergency responders and other key partners to develop coordinated and proactive efforts to address excavation damage and raise awareness. This month, PG&E has also conducted emergency responder trainings for local fire, police and emergency service departments.

There are many ways for you to get involved with NSDM too. There’s still time to try your luck with the Call 811 Campaign’s “Can You Dig It?” online game. Great prizes for the lucky winners include an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire HD, Apple TV, gift cards and more. So check out the game, and remember to tell friends and family to make the 811 Promise.

And if you are doing something to raise awareness about safe digging, let us know in the comments below.

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