During April, Verizon will promote the fifth annual National Safe Digging Month, reminding people to always call 811 a few days before beginning any digging project.
National Safe Digging Month is formally recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and has traditionally earned support from the governors of nearly every state.
"As April marks the traditional start of digging season, Verizon is highlighting the need for individuals and companies to call 811 before they begin any digging project," said Diane McCarthy, senior vice president of global network field operations at Verizon. "By calling 811 to have the underground utility lines in their area marked, homeowners and professionals are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected."
When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to their local one-call center, which then notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig. Those companies send their professional locators to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.
As part of its safe digging campaign, Verizon distributes hats, gloves and other promotional items with the 811 logo to Verizon field operations personnel who have cable locating, maintenance and emergency repair responsibilities; outside plant engineering personnel who are responsible for construction, protection, location and permanent restoration activities; and excavators, locators, municipal employees and right-of-way providers with whom Verizon works. In addition, the company is outfitting its fleet vehicles with 811 bumper stickers.
According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an organization devoted to promoting effective damage prevention practices, a utility line is damaged by digging once every three minutes nationwide, and one-third of these incidents are caused by failure to call 811 before beginning digging projects.
Verizon joins the CGA and its 1,400-plus members across the U.S. to highlight 811, which was established in 2005 by the Federal Communications Commission to prevent the unintentional strikes of underground utility lines while digging.
Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after a call to 811.
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.
For more information about 811, click here.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with nearly 108 million total connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 194,000. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.