JACKSON, Mich., April 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Blooming flowers and warmer weather signal the start of outdoor projects. Homeowners, contractors and excavators are reminded to contact MISS DIG 811 at 8-1-1 or www.missdig811.org before digging so underground utilities can be marked.
"Digging activities have started strong again this year, and we have experienced a number of utility damages from homeowners who did not contact MISS DIG 811 before putting their shovels or equipment in the ground," said Charles Crews, vice president of gas operations for Consumers Energy. "That's why the Dig Safely partners continue sharing the important 'Know What's Below: 811 Before You Dig' message to help ensure safe digging around underground utilities. Our goal is simple: zero damages and enhanced public safety as a result."
Gov. Rick Snyder has joined governors from throughout the country to again declare April as Dig Safely Month, which encourages homeowners and contractors to contact MISS DIG 811 before digging to prevent injuries, property damage and outages.
A Dig Safely Month event is planned for 2 p.m. April 16 at Bordine's Nursery, 1835 Rochester Road South, Rochester Hills. The public is invited to learn more about safe digging by visiting displays and participating in activities and contests.
Safe digging practices not only prevent unintentional damage to gas, electric, cable, water, sewer and fiber optic lines, but also protect against property damage and potential personal injury.
Every digging job requires a call, from small do-it-yourself activities like planting trees and shrubs to large building and road construction projects.
Safe digging tips for homeowners include:
- Contact MISS DIG 811 by calling 8-1-1, or visit www.missdig811.org at least three working days before digging to have underground utilities marked.
- Wait to start projects until you are sure all lines are marked or cleared by the utility. This can be confirmed by contacting MISS DIG at 8-1-1 or www.response.missdig.org
- Respect the marks and dig with care, especially when using power equipment. If your project is within 4 feet of the utility marks, modify your plans and stay more than 4 feet from the marks, or use a wooden handle shovel to carefully expose the lines before starting excavation.
- Ask your contractor to confirm 8-1-1 has been contacted before allowing digging work to proceed.
Firefighters throughout the state are also supportive of the "Know What's Below: 811 Before You Dig" effort because they are often first responders when damages to natural gas and other underground lines occur. "The fire service relies on safe operations any time there is digging around utilities. Using MISS DIG 811 and calling 8-1-1 before a project will aid in ensuring a safe project from the start. The fire service across Michigan responds to preventable gas leaks on a frequent basis. These leaks create dangerous situations for civilians and firefighting staff that is completely preventable with the use of MISS DIG 811," said Michael O'Brian, president of the Michigan Fire Chiefs Association.
The Michigan Public Service Commission reported 4,094 utility damages caused by digging in 2015. Of this, 42 percent reported were because a MISS DIG 811 locate request was not made prior to digging; while 61 percent of underground damages caused by hand tools had no advance MISS DIG notification.
"For outdoor projects large and small, calling 8-1-1 or visiting missdig.org to place an e-locate request reduces the chance of causing damage to less than 1 percent," said Bruce Campbell, CEO of MISS DIG System. "That demonstrates how critical it is for homeowners, contractors and excavators to contact us at least three working days in advance of any digging project. When in doubt, always contact MISS DIG 811 first," he added.
Dig into safe digging facts
MISS DIG 811:
Has the largest ticket-taking volume of any one-call center in the U.S., handling more than 21 million locate requests since 1970. www.missdig811.org
Common Ground Alliance (CGA): A member-driven association of 1,700 individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. www.commongroundalliance.com
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/april-declared-safe-digging-month-in-michigan-focus-on-enhancing-public-safety-reducing-utility-damages-300245106.html
SOURCE Consumers Energy