April marks the 11th annual National Safe Digging Month
With warmer days and longer evenings, it's prime time for planting and other outdoor projects – and it's a perfect time to remind homeowners to always call 811 before digging.
Throughout April, Sunshine 811, Peoples Gas, Tampa Electric and other utilities are promoting National Safe Digging Month. The campaign is designed to remind Florida's residents of the complex network of wires, cables and pipelines located underground. Striking one of these underground utility lines while digging could injure you or others, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, and potentially result in fines and repair costs.
No matter the size of the project – from simple landscaping like planting trees or shrubs, to installing a fence or mailbox – you must call 811 before every digging project. There are 170,000 underground utilities damaged every year across the nation, and one out of every three incidents is the result of not calling 811.
One free, simple phone call to 811 makes it easy for Sunshine 811 to notify all appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Here are some tips to remember:
- Call at least two full business days before digging to give utility companies enough time to properly mark their lines. When you call 811, you will be asked for the location and description of your digging project.
- Doing a small project at single address location? Sunshine 811 has an easy online entry system. Visit sunshine811.com and click on Single Address Ticket.
- Sunshine 811 notifies affected utility companies, who then send a professional locator to mark the approximate location of underground equipment.
- Check the Sunshine 811 Positive Response link at sunshine811.com and, once all utilities have responded, roll up those sleeves and dig carefully within 24 inches of any marks in your project area.
- Even if you are not digging, remember to leave any markers – paint or flags – in place. They are a sign of work that may be coming soon to your area by a utility or contractor.
Visit sunshine811.com for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process. You also can visit peoplesgas.com and tampaelectric.com for more safety tips.
Tampa Electric, one of Florida's largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 750,000 customers in West Central Florida. Peoples Gas System, Florida's largest natural gas distribution utility, serves about 375,000 customers across the state. Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas are subsidiaries of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.