Aug 12, 2013 12:49 AM by Alex Labat
"811". It's a number many may never use, but for those that do, it could be a lifesaver.
"It's a free service. 8-1-1 is a free service and there's no charge for calling in. You just need to wait 48 hours for everybody to come out and mark and then you can go ahead and dig safely." says Atmos Energy Operations Manager David Raymond.
The "Common Ground Alliance" was formed back in 2000 to help protect individuals from "accidentally" striking underground lines when digging, which can cause outages and major headaches.
"We're really focused a lot on homeowners, because homeowners will plant trees in their yard, they'll dig around their house, and if they don't know where the utilities are at they can either cut a gas line, a water line, the phone line to their house or a fiber optic cable", says Raymond.
"811" isn't just there to save homeowners the headache of striking a line.
If a gas line is breached, it could cause a safety concern for the surrounding area.
"Actually, breaking a gas line can cause a lot of problems. It can cause us to evacuate homes. It can cause us to shut down streets while we get it fixed. Our push is we really would like to know that you have intentions to dig so we can protect the underground facility", says Raymond.
The operations manager says next time you're planning your next big digging project, just remember, plan to call 811 first.
"I would just say when you think about projects, like doing a flower-bed or working in your yard, when you start that planning process, please remember to call 8-1-1 so that everyone can mark their lines and so you can have a safe project. You end up with no problems, no financial issues or public safety issues", says Raymond.