Each year, hundreds of people are seriously injured by hitting utility lines while digging. April is Safe Digging Month in Georgia and the state is promoting Georgia 811. Dialing that three digit number can help save your life. WJBF News Channel 6 Meteorologist John Lynn has the story.
During spring, we have lots to do outside from planting shrubs to putting up new fencing and that requires digging. It's usually something we just do and not think twice about it. But, digging in the wrong place can cause serious injury or even kill.
Former Olympic medalist Cliff Meidl knows the dangers all too well. “I hit 3 power lines and was shocked by 30,000 volts while digging on a job and it caused severe damage to my legs,” he says.
Cliff is now fully recovered and spokesperson for Georgia 811, a national number designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help protect do-it-yourselfers, landscapers, and contractors from hitting underground power, utility, and gas lines while digging.
“When you call, a locator will come out and mark all the different utilities you could have underground,” Meidl says.
The goal is to make sure no one gets hurt, no damage to the environment, or disrupts service to an entire neighborhood. Calling 811 before you dig is also the law, not doing so can result in fines and having to pay for the repair of the utility.
“The infrastructure is vast, we could have up to eight utilities that are located underground so it's best to call before and it's free,” says Meidl.
For more information on Georgia 811, click here.