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August 11 Is National 811 Safe Digging Day

For Release: August 10, 2012

Contact: Kyla Kruse, 217-546-6815

Safe Electricity Urges People to Use Free Utility Locating Service

(SPRINGFIELD, IL)—The date August 11, also signified by 8-11, serves as a natural reminder to call 811 to have utilities marked before starting any digging projects. This free call and free service can help homeowners and professionals avoid the tragedy and serious damage associated with puncturing underground utilities.

Safe Electricity is working with electrical accident survivor Tom Dickey, an excavator who wants to help keep others from taking chances with underground utility lines. One day at a construction site, a small job was added to the day's work-after Tom's safety gear had already been sent back to the shop. He took a chance and made a decision in favor of time and efficiency instead of safety to go ahead and dig a small section for conduit.

As an experienced professional he knew all of the correct procedures, but he made a small slip and received a high-voltage shock. Tom miraculously survived, but he faced a grueling recovery and fight to save his legs and hands. He spent months in the hospital and still lives with pain every day.

Tom teamed up with Safe Electricity's "Teach Learn Care TLC" campaign to share the message, "Please, safety first."

Even if you have had underground lines marked before, it is important to have them marked again before another digging project. The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects, and uneven surfaces. Even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

A recent report from Common Ground Alliance found that an underground utility is damaged by digging every three minutes. These accidents can cause serious damage, explosions, and electrocutions. Fortunately, awareness can prevent most of these accidents.

"Whether at work or at home, start every digging project a few work days in advance with a call to 811, the national 'Call Before You Dig' number," says Molly Hall, executive director of the Safe Electricity program. "Don't take chances. Always get utility lines marked before digging. It could prevent a tragedy."

Tom underscores the importance. "You may get by with it a thousand times, but at some point it can happen to you. It can happen to anybody."

Visit SafeElectricity.org to see Tom's story, and go to call811.com to learn more about safe digging before you ever put a shovel in the ground.

 

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The Energy Education Council is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety and energy efficiency. Established in 1952, the Council is headquartered within the University of Illinois Extension, and serves as a forum for diverse utility and energy organizations to collaborate on the mutually vital issues of efficiency and safety. Learn more at www.EnergyEdCouncil.org.

 


 

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