Call Before You Dig | VideoEvan Kruegel | 8/10/2012
While saving time may be tempting, digging into the ground before calling 811 is never a good idea.
"You can hit a gas line and spark it, you can hit electricity and get electrocuted, just that in itself should deter people from doing it," said Ken Callahan with Montana-Dakota Utilities.
The 811 service is commonly used by construction crews, but it`s important for residential property owners as well. Many people have no idea what sits just below the surface of their backyard.
"If they`re going to plant a shrub or a tree, they should call. There are some hidden electric lines that people don`t know about until they call and go `Oh, I didn`t know that ran across my property.` And it`s free to call," Callahan said.
Within two business days, crews will come mark any issues you could encounter. Cables usually sit at least a foot below ground, but anything beyond that needs to be checked.
"They`ll paint them and they`ll put some flags, and that`s good for 10 days. So if you don`t get your construction done because something came along, just call back, and they`ll come do a retouch for nothing. If you see the yellow markers those are for gas, the red would be for electricity, and the orange is for cable," Callahan said.
Even though it`s free and easy to call, many people still take the gamble and just start digging.
"We have hit lines continuously throughout the day, all week long, and it slows our progress down. So our job is to educate and say this is what you need to do, and it is the law."
It may mean waiting a couple extra days to start your project, but in the end, it`s worth it. Calling 811 is the only way to safely know what dangers are sitting just a foot below the ground.
Tomorrow is August 11, so numerous companies statewide will be reaching out to spread awareness for National 8-1-1 day.