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

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 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.

Christina Nyquist

About Christina Nyquist

Christina Nyquist is the Communications Specialist for the American Gas Association. Prior to joining AGA, Christina served as a Writer/Editor and Public Affairs Specialist at the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Christina holds a master’s degree from the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs.
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