When summer is in full swing, outdoor projects are high on the to-do list for many homeowners. If your outdoor endeavors include digging, you'll want to pick up the phone before you begin. Just one careless scoop of the shovel can nick underground utility lines and knock out power or service to the whole block—or worse, cause injuries or even fatalities.
"Every 8 minutes, a utility is damaged because someone failed to call prior to digging," says Khrysanne Kerr, vice president of communications for the Common Ground Alliance.1
Enter 811. A toll-free call to this number routes your request to your local One Call Center. This service arranges for locators to visit your property and mark the approximate location of underground lines, pipes and cables with paint, flags or both, says Kerr.
Make your call productive with these tips.
Give advance notice. "State laws vary, but we advise calling at least three business days before a project will commence," says Kerr. You can also submit a request online.
Each state has different regulations regarding digging, so brush up on your state's guidelines.
Call before every job. "We encourage people not to make judgment calls, but instead to make phone calls," says Kerr. Any project that involves digging—no matter how seemingly small it is—deserves a call:
- Planting trees and hedges
- Installing a mailbox, fence, pond or pool
- Building a deck
- Pouring concrete
Have information handy. When you call 811, be prepared to provide the following information:
- Your address
- The type of work you'll be performing
- Where you plan to dig
- What tools you will use
- Your project start date
Be proactive. If you hire a professional to do the job, make sure he or she has made arrangements to have your property marked. "Be sure to hold everyone accountable," advises Kerr.
Since the number was launched six years ago, damage to utilities by failure to notify has been reduced by 11 percent, says Kerr. Learn more about the service at call811.com.
If your project is a big one, contact your State Farm® Agent to find out if your homeowners insurance adequately covers the new home improvement.
1 Common Ground Alliance is the organization that spearheaded the "811: Call Before You Dig" initiative.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.
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