811 is the “call before you dig” number

This month marks the 10th anniversary of National Safe Digging Month, established by the Common Ground Alliance.

Part of the intent of National Safe Digging Month is raising awareness about 811, the free nationwide “call before you dig” number.

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In March of 2005, the Federal Communications Commission established 811 as the universal number that coordinates location services for underground public utilities in the U.S. Before 811, each of the separate 71 “call before you dig” services had its own 800 number.

Research shows that every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged – damage that can be easily prevented by calling 811.

As a board member for the CGA, as well as in my role at Verizon, I know the importance of protecting underground utility lines.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811.

Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after a call to 811.

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