Digging safety

Here is one easy way to avoid a serious accident

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How would you like to be responsible for disrupting your neighbor’s electrical or gas service because you struck a utility line while planting a tree in your yard? Even worse, you could suffer a fatal injury.

With thousands of miles of utility lines buried in the state of Michigan, why take the risk by not following safe practices? There is a simple way to eliminate nearly any chance of endangering you and your community when digging – just call MISS DIG 811. It’s safe, fast and free.

“At least three business days before digging, either dial 811 or visit missdig811.org and place a request to MISS DIG 811,” explained Scot Runke, manager, DTE Energy Gas Operations. “MISS DIG 811 is a free service that will send a crew to locate and mark underground utilities in the area where you are digging.”

National data shows that when a call is made to locate underground utilities, the probability of an underground line being damaged is reduced to less than one percent. Yet, every six minutes an underground utility is damaged because someone did not contact MISS DIG before digging.  And any damage to a natural gas or electric line could result in injury or death.

“Over the years, buried utilities can shift due to factors such as the freezing and thawing of the ground around them, so you can’t assume that they are all deeply buried,” cautioned Runke. “For your safety, unless you are digging in an existing garden, you should contact MISS DIG 811 any time there’s a need to dig in your yard.”

Hitting a buried utility line can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Last August in southeast Michigan, DTE received a call about a gas leak caused by a tent stake. The staking was done a few days earlier, but it was not known until the stake was removed that it had pierced a gas line, which is an extremely dangerous situation.

“April is National Safe Digging Month, but we all should practice safe digging every month,” urged Runke. “Safety is our top priority at DTE, and we recommend everyone follow safe-digging procedures to keep our families, neighborhoods and communities as safe as possible.”

Whether you’re a home or business owner, make the right call. Contact MISS DIG 811 before digging. It’s fast, it’s free, and it’s the law.

For more information on safe digging procedures, visit www.dteenergy.com/missdig.