Sunshine State One Call Reminds Homeowners to Call 811 Before Digging to Avoid Underground Utilities and Potential Injury
DEBARY, Fla., April 2 /PRNewswire/ — Sunshine State One Call (SSOCOF) today announced results from a recent survey that found more than half (57 percent) of Americans who plan to dig on their property this year do not plan to notify their local call-before-you-dig center by calling 811. Digging without knowing where underground utilities are located can cause serious injuries, service disruptions and repair costs if a line is damaged.
In Florida, calling 811 is free and it connects you to SSOCOF, which communicates your information to local utility companies. A professional locator then visits the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Once the site is marked, digging can begin. This is a free service!
Failure to call 811 contributed to an estimated 75,000 underground utility damages in 2008, according to industry data compiled by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the international organization dedicated to protecting underground utility lines and the safety of people who dig near them.
A national public opinion survey of 749 homeowners conducted for the CGA revealed 52 percent of homeowner households plan to do at least one do-it-yourself (DIY) project involving digging this year. Of those, more than 80 percent already take safety seriously, using proper footwear when mowing, wearing protective eyewear and turning off electricity for minor repairs.
The most popular projects? Planting shrubs (71 percent), planting a tree (57 percent) and putting in a new patio or walkway (29 percent). All of these common DIY projects could result in underground utility damage if they are not located first.
“When more than half of safety-conscious DIYers don’t think their projects require a call to 811, it’s very troubling,” said SSOCOF Damage Prevention Manager Cheryl Ritter. “All digging projects require a call to 811.”
To boost awareness of 811, Gov. Crist recently declared April as Safe Digging Month and the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in support of the awareness month on March 26.
As part of Safe Digging Month, SSOCOF urges homeowners to take the following steps when planning a digging project:
- Always call 811 two full business days before digging, regardless of the depth or which utilities you think are on your property.
- Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for weekend work.
- Confirm with SSOCOF that all lines have been marked.
- Learn what the various colors of paint and flags represent at http://www.callsunshine.com.
- Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line marks.
- If another location is not viable, dig carefully within 24 inches of the marks.
- If you hire a contractor, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
Contact: Wendy Schaefer Sunshine State One Call (386) 574-1548 firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Sunshine State One Call of Florida, Inc.