(WWLP) – It is National 811 Safe Digging Day and National Grid is reminding customers to call 811 before starting any digging or excavation project and to have underground utility lines properly marked.
The Dig Safe program is a free service funded by utility members to promote public safety and avoid underground utility damage. Across the country, there are more than six buried utilities damaged hourly because a person failed to call 811 before starting their digging project. Striking an underground line can result in personal injury, repair costs, state fines, and inconvenient outages.
“Safe digging is absolutely critical to ensure the safety of our employees, public and local communities that we proudly serve each day. At National Grid, we remain focused and diligent in our commitment to deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas services to our customers . . . Calling 811 before you dig will help to protect you and your family, as well as your neighbors and the local community.”Mark Prewitt | Vice President of Gas Compliance & Assurance at National Grid
Calling 811 before digging is the law and failing to do so can result in severe fines up to $10,000.
Dig Safe requests need to be placed at least 72 hours in advance, not counting weekends and legal holidays. Digging without calling dig safe to mark utility lines is never allowed. National Grid reminds everyone that by calling 811 you will help to prevent contact with underground electricity and gas lines nationwide.
According to National Grid, dig-ins are the leading cause of natural gas leaks each year. If you suspect a natural gas leak, National Grid recommends the following tips:
- Evacuate your home and move to a safe area.
- Do NOT smoke (e-cigarettes and vape pens included), light matches, or do anything to create a flame.
- Do NOT touch any light switches or electrical equipment and do NOT pull any plugs from outlets. These items may produce a spark that might ignite the gas and cause an explosion.
- If you have a gas range or oven, make sure the controls are turned OFF.
- Extinguish any easily accessible open flames such as lit candles, but never try to put out a fire you suspect may be caused by escaping gas. Leave immediately.
- Do NOT assume someone else will report the condition.
- Call 911 and National Grid’s gas emergency number from a safe location:
- Massachusetts: 1-800-233-5325