Spire reminds customers to ‘Call Before You Dig’ During Safe Digging Month in April
Spring is in full bloom, and more people are heading outdoors to do projects that involve digging, such as planting a tree, building a deck or installing a mailbox. That’s why Spire and utilities across the country encourage residents during National Safe Digging Month in April to call 811 before digging to help prevent accidents involving utility pipelines.
“If you’re putting a shovel in the ground at any depth, you need to call 811,” said Alan Meyer, Spire manager of damage prevention. “When you place the free call to 811 a locator will mark the utilities within the requested area saving you time, money, and even lives. It is also important to remember to wait the appropriate time for utilities to respond before beginning your excavation.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, if someone calls 811 before they dig, they have a 99% chance of avoiding contact with a utility pipeline, which can lead to injury, death or harm to the environment. Whether a bush is being planted or a foundation is being laid, calling 811 at the beginning of a project can help keep an entire neighborhood stay safe.
Spire recommends five steps for safe digging:
- Dial 811 to request a site be marked. The call and the locating services are free.
- Call at least three days before digging. A locator will mark lines that could be impacted by your project.
- Spire lines will be marked with yellow flags and/or spray paint.
- Be careful when digging around the markers to avoid accidentally damaging buried natural gas or other utility lines.
- If the markings have been placed and you cannot confirm the location by hand digging, call 811 to notify them of a possible incorrect marking. The utility company responsible for the line will come back free of charge and correctly identify the markings for you.
Meyer said that even when individuals follow rules and regulations closely, accidents can still happen. If a pipeline is ever damaged:
- Never try to stop or slow down the flow of natural gas
- Move to a safe distance upwind of the damage
- Keep others away from the area
- Never try to move equipment from the area
- Call 911
- Call Spire
- Call 811, a nationwide toll-free number, to report the damage
“At Spire, safety is our top priority, and we encourage customers with questions to contact us,” said Meyer. “We always do whatever we can to help people protect themselves, their communities and the environment.”
For more information about safe digging and excavation, visit spireenergy.com/call-you-dig or contact Spire’s Damage Prevention Department at Alan.Meyer@spireenergy.com.