If you knew one phone call could reduce your risk of damaging a utility line by 99 percent, would you make it? Of course you would, right?

That one call is a simple to make, just dial 811 three days before you dig on your property. According to the 2014 Damage Information Reporting Tool report from the Common Ground Alliance,  one phone call can reduce your risk of damaging a utility line to just one percent. Less damage also means fewer opportunities for injury.

You’re probably thinking that statistic sounds great, but you’re not planning on digging a big trench in your yard. All you are planning on doing is digging holes for a few trees or a deck. Do you really need to call MISS DIG at 811?

The simple answer is yes, it’s the law. Drilling deeper into the subject, you’ll realize there are a lot of utilities that could be buried underground that you never knew about. Electric, gas, water, sewer, cable, or phone lines could be just a few shovels below your lawn. Damaging them is inconvenient at best, and potentially dangerous.

So, you’ve decided to call MISS DIG at 811 and you now have flags on your property indicating where lines might be. What is the safest way to excavate?

Start unearthing the area around the flags by hand. This is called hand exposing, and it helps you find exactly where the lines are before you bring out the power tools.

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