Category Archives: 811

Lisa Dundon California Chrome Wins Kentucky Derby, Promotes “Call 811” to Millions

When overwhelming favorite California Chrome raced to victory at the 140th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, 15.3 million television viewers around the world were reminded of the importance to “Call 811 Before You Dig.“

Four members of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an organization dedicated to educating professionals and homeowners about the importance of following safe digging procedures, were the official sponsors of Victor Espinoza, the jockey who rode the winning colt.

Thanks in part to USA North 811, Underground Service Alert of Southern California, Dig Safely New York and Kentucky 811, Espinoza donned the bold “Call 811” logo and phone number on the side and back of his pants, as well as his turtleneck, riding boots and the ball cap he wore before and after the race. Espinoza also spread this important safety message on his official Twitter page leading up to the race.

Victor Espinoza locker room 225x300 California Chrome Wins Kentucky Derby, Promotes “Call 811” to Millions

Jockey Victor Espinoza shows off his uniform featuring the Call 811 logo. Photo credit: CGA Connect Facebook page.

CGA President Bob Kipp explained that given the Kentucky Derby occurs during the peak spring digging season each year, it was the perfect opportunity to promote the importance of calling 811 to millions of homeowners and professional who dig.

A call to 811, which should be done a few days before beginning a big or small digging project, connects you to a local One Call Center which gathers information about the project and alerts your local utility company. Crews then locate the utility lines near the 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. According to CGA, an underground utility line is damaged every six minutes nationwide, because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

Victor Espinoza kentucy derby race 2 300x208 California Chrome Wins Kentucky Derby, Promotes “Call 811” to Millions

The horse and jockey team of California Chrome and Victor Espinoza moments after winning the Kentucky Derby. Photo credit: USA North 811 and Alex Evers/ESW/CSM ©Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Cal Sport Media.

Espinoza will again represent Call 811  as he races California Chrome in the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness, on May 17. Let us know how you will be rooting for the horse and jockey team in the comments section below.

If you missed the Kentucky Derby race, click here to watch the video on YouTube. For more information about Call 811, visit www.call811.com.

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Christina Nyquist Natural Gas Utilities Engage Communities to Promote 811, Safety Awareness

Today marks the last day of National Safe Digging Month. All April long, throughout the nation, local natural gas utilities have taken creative steps to spread the word about safe excavation practices. Damage from construction and digging activity is the leading cause of pipeline incidents, so communicating with customers and communities about the importance of calling 811 before starting any digging project is essential to enhancing public safety. Efforts surrounding safe digging have contributed to a nearly 50 percent decline in excavation damages to underground facilities since 2004. Here are just a few of the ways AGA member companies raised awareness about safe digging in their local communities.

North Carolina-based Piedmont Natural Gas teamed with garden centers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee to tag trees and shrubs with reminders to “Call Before You Dig.” Piedmont Natural Gas Managing Director of Safety and Community Relations Timothy Greenhouse explained, “We know people are eager to get started on gardening and landscaping projects after the long winter we’ve had, but calling 811 is a free, easy way to avoid the inconvenience, added cost and potential injury that can result from damaging underground utilities.” At the Gardens of Blackhawk Hardware in Charlotte, N.C., Girl Scouts from the local Hornets Nest Council worked with garden center employees to make sure every customer buying a tree, shrub or bush or digging tool received a “Call Before You Dig” tag.

PNG 2 300x199 Natural Gas Utilities Engage Communities to Promote 811, Safety Awareness

Piedmont Natural Gas employees demonstrate safe digging practices with local Girl Scouts at National Safe Digging Month awareness event. Credit: Piedmont Natural Gas

Atmos Energy, headquartered in Dallas, Tex., engaged social media to launch its “iDig It” campaign. The utility offered participants the chance to win $811 by snapping and submitting photos of clearly marked digging sites in their communities and sharing them on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #iDigIt. Atmos also released a new 811 awareness video at the end of March.

In Fresno, Calif., Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation joined the Fresno City Council, the Fresno Fire Department and the Mayor of Madera for a safe digging awareness rally, where participants wrapped 100 stickers around trees that were given away to anyone who pledged to call 811 before digging. In addition to spreading safety awareness, the event added 100 new trees to the city’s landscape. PG&E also hosted weekly safety events at Home Depot stores throughout its service territory throughout the month, where PG&E employees spoke with shoppers about the importance of safe digging. Attendees and their children also played safety games and observed some of the innovative tools PG&E is using to supply customers with safe and reliable gas and electricity.

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PG&E’s Dan Kalendar, left, and Joe Sutton demonstrated the interactive gas safety board for customers at a Home Depot Safe Digging Awareness event. Credit: PG&E

The team here at AGA developed and released a “Kids and Natural Gas Safety” video designed to appeal to younger audiences to help educate them about all aspects of living with natural gas.

Many other natural gas utilities throughout the nation spread awareness about National Safe Digging Month through news releases, social media, advertisements, community events and more. Safety is the top priority for AGA and its member companies. Along with the industry’s dedicated efforts to enhance the safety of its systems, growing public awareness about natural gas safety is an essential part of helping to ensure Americans can enjoy the benefits of domestic, abundant natural gas for decades to come.

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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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