8/11 : A good reminder to call before you dig!

8-1-1 is a free service that keeps homeowners safe before beginning home improvement projects

Aug. 11 is a day the not-for-profit agency VA811 uses as a reminder to ensure the practice of safe digging in our communities.

811 Day is an annual initiative led by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, echoed in communities by calling 8-1-1, a nationwide toll-free number, before any excavation project. In fact, 8/11 Day has been designated as an important annual date and enacted into Virginia law by the Virginia General Assembly

Virginia Today anchors Jenna Zibton, Rachel Lucas, Patrick McKee and Meteorologist Chris Michaels with an 811 Day cake.
Virginia Today anchors Jenna Zibton, Rachel Lucas, Patrick McKee and Meteorologist Chris Michaels with an 811 Day cake. (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

Since more people are at home during pandemic restrictions, and with summer being a peak time to work on home improvement projects, it’s timelier than ever that residents remember to dig safely. When contacting 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Virginia811 - the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. The easiest way to get your property marked is to visit the website and fill out its online form.

According to VA811, every few minutes, an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811. Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, inconvenient outages, and fines.

“On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to use our FREE service before digging to reduce the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Scott Crawford, CEO & President of Virginia811. “Especially at a time when we’re relying on important utilities to connect us and keep us safe at home, visiting our website or simply calling 811 really is the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area so that you dig safely.”

Virginia811 is celebrating the day with a special Virtual 5k or 8.11 run that residents are encouraged to participate in during August 1 – 11th. It’s free to register and participants can win several prizes by simply posting a photo on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #irun4VA811. Participants are asked to register online here. More information can be found on the Virginia811 Facebook and Instagram pages.

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