Spreading the message about 811

National 811 Day only comes once a year, but professionals would do well to keep reciting the program’s catch phrase: “Call before you dig,” at all times of the year.

There are a multitude of reasons why that’s true. A landscaping company in Va, was installing a fence for a residential customer when a worker digging a post hole hit a gas line, causing it to leak. The landscaper called to report the incident, and when first responders arrived, flames were shooting from the ground. Firefighters scrambled to protect nearby houses. Fortunately no one was injured. There was a recent incident in Murrieta where a contractor failed to call 811. This resulted in a fatality of the utility worker responding to the gas leak. Of course, not all landscape accidents involving underground utility lines involve landscapers.

A survey by the Common Ground Alliance, which works to promote the 811 program found nearly half 45% of American homeowners who plan to dig this year for projects like landscaping, installing a fence or similar home improvement projects (building a deck, pond, patio) put themselves and  communities at risk if they don’t call 811 to learn the approximate location of underground utilities.

Common Ground Alliance notes that if you take the survey response above and extrapolate it to all U.S. homeowners, the implication is that nearly 40 million Americans will dig this year without first checking for underground lines and having them marked. Calling 811 is all it takes to get the job done and lines will be marked at no charge to homeowners.

The Common Ground Alliance is also working to spread the message that accidents involving underground pipes and other systems are not rare. And how could they be? The organization reports that there are more than 20 million miles of underground utilities in the United States, or about 105 yards of underground utilities for every man, woman and child in the country.

Given those statistics, it’s hardly surprising that a subsurface utility line is damaged about once every six minutes nationwide.

While most 811 campaigns are directed at homeowners, accidents that occur remind us that professionals need reminders, too. A private locating company like Pacific Coast Locators is helpful on private property and on commercial projects as well. We offer services above and beyond just locating such as site utility mapping and pipe inspections. quote@pclocators.com. Let us assist you on your upcoming project.

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