Gov. Scott declares April ‘Safe Digging Month’

DeBARY, FL (March 29, 2017) — Gov. Rick Scott declared April to be Safe Digging Month in Florida. It serves as a reminder to call 811 before starting any outdoor digging projects.

Calling 811 connects you to Sunshine 811, the center that takes your information and sends it to local utility companies. Utility locators mark the approximate locations of underground lines at the requested dig site with flags and/or spray paint. Once lines are accurately marked, digging can begin.

In 2015, there were 8,750 underground utility damages throughout Florida. Forty-one percent were because someone didn’t notify 811. Do-it-yourself projects are not immune from this process. Many projects like landscaping, setting new fence posts and replacing mailboxes are in areas where underground utilities run. So digging without using 811 could be dangerous.

If digging is in your plans, remember these tips:

  • Get underground utility lines located and marked with paint and flags for every project. (The marking colors represent specific utilities.)
  • Get a ticket. Call 811 or use Single Address Ticket at sunshine 811.com on Tuesday for weekend digging.
  • If you’ve hired a contractor, confirm that Sunshine 811 has been contacted and utilities notified.
  • Consider moving your project if could interfere with the utility lines or, in the case of plants, could grow into them.
  • Next to calling, verifying positive response codes is second in importance. Get the most recent Positive Response System updates at sunshine811.com. Then, compare those codes to what you see in your yard. Check into anything that doesn’t match a code.
  • Utilities do not locate privately-owned lines on private property such as lines from a meter to your house or lines from your house to an outbuilding, pool or other separate structure. Take necessary precautions to avoid damaging these lines when you dig.

“We enthusiastically join Gov. Scott in asking you to call 811 before digging,” says Sunshine 811 Executive Director Mark Sweet. “When you have underground lines marked, you’re making an important decision to keep your community safe and connected.”

Visit our Safe Digging Month page and toolkit to see how you can tell others about this safety awareness month.