With Aug. 11 almost here, Verizon hopes this date (8/11) will serve as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 to have underground utility lines marked before initiating any digging project. Marking its fifth anniversary, this nationwide call-before-you-dig number was established by the Federal Communications Commission to provide an easy, free method for protecting underground utility lines.
A recent report released by the Common Ground Alliance has determined that an underground utility line is damaged during digging projects every three minutes nationwide. The CGA is a member-driven association of more than 1,400 individuals, organizations and sponsors that are committed to saving lives and preventing damage to underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices.
“In my role at Verizon and as a member of the CGA board, I take underground protection very seriously,” said Diane McCarthy, senior vice president of service delivery and assurance, Verizon Network and Technology. “One person striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. So whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a professional excavator, it’s important to call 811 to have utility lines properly marked in advance of digging.”
As part of this year’s promotional events, representatives from Verizon and the CGA will ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday (Aug. 10) at 4 pm. ET. Verizon representatives also will participate in CGA activities, such as joining the outdoor audiences of the national morning television shows that day while wearing “811” shirts and holding up “811 Day” signs, as well as attending the New York Mets game on Saturday (Aug. 11).
“On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Bob Kipp, CGA president. “It is the only way to know which lines are buried in your area and have the area properly marked.”
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to their local one-call center, which then notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Professional locators are sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.
Utility lines need to be properly marked even when digging only a few inches because the depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, and the risk of striking an underground utility line exists.
In addition to highlighting 811 Day, Verizon promotes awareness of safe digging throughout the year with training on safe digging best practices, and distributing hats, gloves and other promotional items with the 811 logo. These items are given to the company’s field operations personnel who have cable locating, maintenance and emergency repair responsibilities; outside plant engineering personnel who are responsible for construction, protection, relocation and permanent restoration activities; as well as excavators, locators, municipal employees and right-of-way providers with whom Verizon works. In addition, the company is outfitting its fleet vehicles with 811 bumper stickers.
All states require those who plan on digging to call ahead to get utility lines marked before digging. Each state has different guidelines for calling ahead, which can be found here. Visit call811.com for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.
Verizon Communications, Inc. (verizon.com), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 94 million retail customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 188,000.
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