811 Call Before You Dig: Saving Lives and Protecting Property

Blog powered by INGAA member Williams

Eleven years ago the Common Ground Alliance and the U.S. Dept. of Transportation introduced a national call center and the phone number 811 in response to the growing trend of accidents, injuries, deaths and property damage related to utility line strikes.

When you consider that in the U.S. alone, there are roughly a billion feet of underground utility lines, taking the time to call 811 a couple of days prior to the start of a project has proven itself to be the best way of ensuring the safety of yourself, your family, your property and your community.

According to the Call 811 website, when you call 811 the appropriate amount of time before digging, you have a less than 1 percent chance of striking a buried utility line.

To make the process even easier, the Call 811 website provides important information for both homeowners and contractors on the requirements for each state. The information includes whether or not you can make the notification online, the amount of time required to call in advance of a project, the number of days the facility marks (paint, flags, etc.) are valid and a calendar with educational events happening in each state.

So, in Safe Digging Month, we take the opportunity to remind everyone to “get the scoop on 811” and make plans to call before you dig. This includes even the smallest of projects, e.g., planting a shrub or installing a new mailbox. A good rule of thumb to remember: if you intend to put a shovel to dirt, make it a practice to call 811 first.