Tuesday on National 811 Day, Chattanooga Gas reminds everyone in the community to Do Your Part and practice safe digging. From the do-it-yourself homeowners to professional construction crews, everyone must do their part to prevent accidents and damages by dialing 811 to have underground lines marked prior to digging, officials said.
Nationwide, a utility line is damaged once every three minutes, but most of these accidents can be prevented by calling 811 before digging. Calling 811 is as easy as picking up the phone, scheduling a free appointment, and having a professional crew come onsite to mark the lines where underground utilities exist.
“Safety is paramount in our communities, and this includes safe and smart digging. It’s as easy as dialing 811, having lines marked for free and respecting lines once they are drawn,” said Emeka Igwilo, chief data officer and vice president of operations support for Southern Company Gas, the parent company of Chattanooga Gas. “Whether it’s planting a tree, installing a new mailbox or breaking ground on a new home, do your part and call 811 before you start digging.”
Chattanooga Gas encourages homeowners and contractors to follow the below safe digging guidelines and always dig with CARE:
• Call Before You Dig: When starting an outdoor project involving digging, customers are advised to make contacting Tennessee 811 by dialing 811 part of their plans. Calls to the free locating service should be made three days in advance. The requests to have utility operators mark underground facilities, including natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines, can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
• Allow the Required Time for Marking: After calling 811, wait the required time to have underground utility lines marked before digging. The approximate location of underground utility lines will be marked with color-coded spray paint, flags or stakes that correspond to the utility. The color used for natural gas is yellow.
• Respect the Marks: Only use hand digging tools to uncover the area carefully around a utility when you need to dig close by.
• Excavate Carefully: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to call 811 to have lines re-marked.
If a natural gas line is damaged accidentally or the distinctive rotten-egg odor associated with natural gas is present, call 911 or the Chattanooga Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at 1-866-643-4170 from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or equipment that might cause a spark or open flame.
For more information about 811 Day and how to Do Your Part to practice safe digging, visit https://www.chattanoogagas.com/safety/call-before-you-dig.