To raise awareness for calling 811 before digging where utility lines are buried, Cherokee County Fire Chief Tim Prather is reminding residents that Sunday, Aug. 11, is the national observance of “Call Before You Dig.”
The Federal Communications Commission established 811 as the national “Call Before You Dig” number to assist excavators, landscapers and do-it-yourselfers from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines while working on digging projects.
“Every year, on Aug. 11, (8-11), pipelines and other underground utilities across the nation take the opportunity to remind their communities about the importance of calling 811 to prevent injury, damage and death, from hitting underground lines,” Prather said.
Calls to 811 are free and should be made at least two days before digging. The calls connect individuals to their local One Call Center, which gathers information about the planned digging project and notifies public utilities in the area.
Professional locate technicians are then dispatched to mark the location of all underground lines with paint or flags before any digging begins.
“Failure to call 811 before digging results in more than 200,000 unintentional hits annually across the United States. That translates to roughly one unintentional hit every three minutes, many of which require the response of emergency responders and unnecessarily tie up community resources. These situations could easily be prevented by one simple call to 811,” Prather said.
The Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs is partnering with pipeline operators across the state to promote 811 awareness Sunday, or 811-Day.