April is Safe Digging Month.
With warming weather and health guidelines to shelter in place, more people may be thinking about doing home projects.
During the COVID-19 crisis, it’s particularly important to call 811 and know what’s below before digging.
The virus response means that hospitals and first responders are already stretched thin. They are on duty every day, caring for those who are or could potentially be ill. Utility personnel are also on duty around-the-clock to make sure our gas and electric services continue to be reliable. Using safe digging practices can prevent unnecessary injuries and trips to the emergency room, which in turn would avoid stressing these critical resources and possibly exposing them to the virus.
We urge everyone involved in home or business digging activities to exercise extreme caution. There are thousands of miles of underground utility lines in our area –- including buried gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines — so people need to prepare before digging underground.
We encourage residents and contractors to:
- Call 811 beforehand
- Wait several days until lines are fully marked before starting to dig
- Practice safe physical distancing while working outside
Our health-care workers and first responders cannot afford additional strains on their resources. Taking these steps adds up to one more safety measure that can help flatten the curve.