Can You Dig It? Roll Up Your Sleeves and Save Lives During National Safe Digging Month
Recent weather events have safety on the mind of most Mississippians these days, but Atmos Energy focuses on safety all year-round.
Did you know that the most common cause of outside natural gas leaks is digging or construction that disturbs natural gas pipelines? Pipelines carry natural gas around the clock to more than 76 million homes and businesses in the United States, yet we seldom notice these energy superhighways because they are underground. Every year in April, National Safe Digging Month is an opportunity to remind homeowners, contractors, and any professional excavator to keep communities safe by calling 811 before any digging project.
“Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in disruptions to critical services, serious injuries, and costly repairs to underground utility lines,” said Todd Fuller, Manager of Safety for Atmos Energy in Mississippi.
“It is simple and easy to make a free request online or over the phone by calling 811 before digging to help communities maintain essential utility services, promote safety, and reduce the likelihood of accidentally digging into buried utility lines. The ‘Call 811’ service is free, safe, and it is required by law.”
“Mississippi 811 promotes National Safe Digging Month to raise awareness of the importance of calling before you dig to avoid damages to underground utilities and to promote safety for excavators,” said Fred Johnson, President Mississippi 811, Inc.
Atmos Energy is partnering with Mississippi 811 and other gas utilities in the metro area to raise awareness of 811 and National Safe Digging Month. We are co-sponsoring a blood drive at the location of MS 811, 200 Country Pl Pkwy in Pearl. “In conjunction with National Safe Digging Month, Mississippi 811, Inc. is teaming up with local utility members and Mississippi Blood Services to promote saving lives,” said Bert Pickard with MS 811. “We invite you to come out and donate blood at this life saving event.”
The event will run from 12:00pm to 5:00pm at the MS 811 office.
Volunteers who donate blood at the event will receive $15 Visa gift cards. Door prizes will be given away as well.
Everyone who contacts 811 a few days before digging is connected to a local notification center that will take the caller's information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags, or both. Homeowners are further encouraged to take a few precautionary measures when planning any digging project this spring:
Plan ahead. If work is scheduled for an upcoming weekend, make a free 811 request on Monday or Tuesday – providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
Confirm that all lines have been marked.
Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has contacted 811. Don't allow work to begin if the lines are not marked.
Please visit 811beforeyoudig.com for complete information.
As part of National Safe Digging Month, Atmos Energy asks everyone to become a safety ambassador by taking the Atmos Energy Call 811 Pledge at https://www.atmosenergy.com/safety/sign-call-811-pledge. In addition, the Atmos Energy Damage Prevention Ambassador Program empowers employees year-round to help eliminate pipeline damages by making stops at excavation sites to educate the public and promote safe digging practices. In 29 percent of all stops, Damage Prevention Ambassadors found that excavators did not have a valid 811 ticket, the ticket had expired, or their excavation plan included the use of mechanized equipment within the utility tolerance zone without first exposing the utilities. If pipeline danger exists, the Ambassador is empowered to stop the work, and the excavator is asked to cease digging and call 811 so utilities can mark their lines as required under state law.
With an increasing number of public infrastructure projects and expanding economic development, pipeline damage resulting from excavation remains the most common cause of outside natural gas leaks. Atmos Energy has been and will continue to be a champion for damage prevention, and this is yet one more way that Atmos Energy puts its safety vision into practice.
About Atmos Energy
Atmos Energy Corporation, an S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, is the country’s largest natural gas-only distributor. We safely deliver reliable, affordable, efficient and abundant natural gas to more than 3 million distribution customers in over 1,400 communities across eight states located primarily in the South. As part of our vision to be the safest provider of natural gas services, we are modernizing our business and infrastructure while continuing to invest in safety, innovation, environmental sustainability and our communities. Atmos Energy manages proprietary pipeline and storage assets, including one of the largest intrastate natural gas pipeline systems in Texas.