Safe Digging Starts With Calling 811
Calling 811 sounds simple, right?
It does until you realize that about half of all homeowners don’t call 811 before digging and that an underground utility line is damaged about every six minutes because of it, according to the Common Ground Alliance.
With National 811 Day on Aug. 11 and more than 200 million miles of underground utilities in the country, calling 811 before any digging project to have underground utility lines marked for free is the safest and only way to go — whether you’re planting a shrub or installing a fence — to prevent the outages, property damage, injuries and even death that can occur when underground utilities are hit.
“It really doesn’t matter how small the digging project is, accidentally hitting an underground utility line can cause harm to you and those around you,” said Andrew Martinez, vice president of Safety, Security and Business Resiliency at Southern California Edison. “Homeowners should always call 811 first to learn the location of underground utility lines. This is critical in preventing serious injuries and service outages.”
To prepare for the free markings, homeowners — or any contractors hired by them — should pre-mark the area where the digging will be done with white paint, stakes with white flags, chalk or any other material, including flour or sugar. Then, at least two-to-three days before the project, 811 should always be called to have any underground utility lines marked.
SCE offers some additional safety tips to homeowners and others working on digging projects, including: