April marks annual National Safe Digging Month, and Delaware Electric Cooperative would like to remind members to always call 811 a few days before any digging project. When members call 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to the local Miss Utility call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of a member’s intent to dig.
Utility locators or contract locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the locations of underground lines with flags or paint. A utility line is damaged by digging once every three minutes, and one-third of these incidents are caused by failure of the professional excavator or homeowner to call 811 before beginning their digging project.
According to Brad Ebaugh, Manager of Metering and Power Supply at Delaware Electric Cooperative, “People die every year from gas explosions or electrocution while digging near 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 after calling 811. This service and the phone call are free!