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TheStreet Open House

Verizon Says 811 Day Is A Good Reminder To Call Before You Dig

NEW YORK, Aug. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In today's distraction-filled world, a good reminder is necessary for the important tasks – especially those that can cause injury or incur repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. 

Today is Aug. 11, known as 8-11 Day, which is a reminder of the importance of calling 811 -- the nationwide call-before-you-dig number -- to have underground utility lines marked prior to any digging project. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811.

The Federal Communications Commission established the 811 number in 2005 to provide an easy and free method for protecting underground utility lines.

"No other damage-prevention method is as simple and successful as calling 811," said Diane McCarthy, senior vice president, Verizon service delivery and assurance. " Research shows that calling 811 before digging is 99 percent effective in preventing underground infrastructure damage."

Verizon will join hundreds of companies and organizations in the U.S. that are using the special date as a reminder of the importance of safe digging. By calling 811, anyone in the U.S. who is digging can help prevent the unintentional strike of underground utility lines. (Watch a video about what happens at Verizon after it is notified of an 811 call.)

 Verizon receives more than 5 million locate requests each year, and promoting 811 is an important component of protecting the company's physical network infrastructure, which is vital to keeping network traffic up and running. Verizon continually trains its field operations employees on safe digging best practices, sends regular reminders about safe digging and outfits its fleet with 811 bumper stickers.

"On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, the Common Ground Alliance reminds homeowners and professional contractors alike to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line," said Bob Kipp, the organization's president. "It really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area."    

The Common Ground Alliance is an association that has established itself as the leading organization behind the effort to reduce damages to all underground facilities in North America.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to their local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both. For state-specific information, visit http://www.call811.com/state-specific.aspx .

This year, the call-before-you-dig number received additional attention from millions of Americans who watched 811-sponsored jockey Victor Espinoza ride to first-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Through several high-profile interviews, millions of homeowners were reminded to always call 811 to know what's below before digging.

"Now in its seventh year, 811 has prevented thousands of underground excavation damages," said McCarthy. "We all share the responsibility to make sure utility lines are properly marked, even when digging only a few inches."

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