You’ll find “the 411” on 811 Day right there in your front and back yard. Actually, the idea is that you’ll let the experts find it – they’ll come to your home or business to check the grounds for free. This helps ensure that any project involving digging doesn’t rupture buried natural gas lines, sewage lines, electrical cables, water mains or other infrastructure hidden underground.
In short, 811 Day (Aug. 11, appropriately) is a reminder that taking simple action to “know what’s below” can help you avoid disaster – even the kind that risks lives.
Sunshine 811’s ongoing campaign is Call Before You Dig. The phone call is free – again, it’s as simple as dialing 811 – and so is the service itself. If your project involves digging of any kind, whether to install a fence or mailbox or plant a tree, there’s no reason not to call. In fact, the law requires it for projects of all sizes from home improvements to new building construction. Contractors are required to call 811 on every project, so don’t let a company do work on your property without obtaining a locate ticket first.
But here’s the catch: you must contact the service at least two full working days before the digging starts. This will give Sunshine 811 the time it needs to notify utilities, which will send technicians to your address to mark buried infrastructure with paint and flags, color-coded as follows:
• Yellow flag: Gas, oil and steam
• Red flag: Electrical infrastructure
• Orange flag: Communication lines (telephone, cable, fiber-optic)
• Blue flag: Water
• Purple: Reclaimed water, irrigation, slurry lines
• Green: Sewers and drain lines
Sandra Panos, supervisor of Damage Prevention and Public Awareness with TECO Peoples Gas, pointed to recent – and strong – reasons why calling 811 is so important.
“Most cases involved digging without proper utility locates. Line damage incidents like these not only put the ones digging, our team members and the public in danger; they also disrupt other important work Peoples Gas must do to serve the community. We have to reschedule normal activity to handle an emergency that might never have happened if someone had called 811. It is also an inconvenience for our customers to be without utility service due to a cut line. ”
The bottom line is that at Peoples Gas – with the outstanding customer service that we bring customers across Florida as the state’s largest natural gas provider – and at Tampa Electric, with the 99.9 percent reliability we provide, as well as through our commitment to the community, we do a lot of work underground. We know the value of knowing what’s below.
And we value you, each customer we’re proud to serve, and the community overall. If you value your safety, your property and the success of your project – and if you want to avoid being the cause of a power outage, water main break, sewage disaster or worse for your neighborhood – it’s a simple call.
And again, it’s free: Call 811 two full days before you dig!