National 811 Day reminds us to be safe when digging

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have created a new normal: frequently washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing have become a habit. For some of us, staying home more has also meant finding ways to distract ourselves from the everyday normal. Cleaning and organizing the house, working on a home improvement to-do list and even a bit of woodworking has become a welcomed challenge. If yardwork is your hobby of choice, there is one very important thing you need to do before beginning any project that involves digging…call 811.

Each year, we observe August 11 (8/11) as National 811 Day to remind homeowners, professional excavators, and landscapers about the importance of calling 811.

The danger is real. Making the simple call can protect your family and our community from disaster. The fact is, some utility lines are buried just a few feet below you. The last thing you want is to hit an electric, gas, or communications line while you’re digging in a flower bed. But it’s likely to happen if you don’t make the call to have professionals mark all the utility lines in your yard.

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To prevent contacting underground lines, we strongly encourage excavators and homeowners to call 811. The state of Texas requires it. So far, in 2020, CPS Energy and their contractors have responded to nearly 88,000 calls to have underground lines located. This is significant because getting these lines located and marked will help keep you and the community safe.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), if someone calls 811 before they dig, they have a 99 percent chance of avoiding an incident, injury, harm to the environment and even death.

So, whether you’re planning to install a fence, mailbox, or do landscape work, be sure to call 811. It’s free and it’s the law. Call 811 offers these tips to keep you and your loved ones safe and your project finished on time:

  • Always call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
  • Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
  • Confirm all lines have been marked. 
  • Consider moving the location of your project if it is within the digging tolerance zone.
  • If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.
  • Visit www.call811.com for more info.

So, before you tackle that long awaited yard project, remember to stay hydrated in this Texas heat and dig safely by calling 811 before you start.

John Moreno

John is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

John Moreno