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Gov. Reeves declares April as Safe Digging Month, encourages residents to call 811

Photo courtesy of the American Gas Association

Kids are almost out of school, and you can already hear the buzz of lawnmowers most weekends across Mississippi. Gardeners are weeding and planting, and that can be hazardous for homeowners that don’t plan ahead.

Gov. Tate Reeves has declared April as “Safe Digging Month,” encouraging residents to utilize Mississippi 811’s free call system before digging jobs of any size at a home or business.

“[Each] year, Mississippi’s underground utility infrastructure is jeopardized by unintentional damage by those who fail to call to have underground lines located prior to digging,” Reeves wrote in his proclamation. “Undesired consequences such as service interruption, damage to the environment, personal injury, and even death are potential results.”

RELATED: Mississippi 811 renames headquarters in honor of late founder

Reeves has issued a similar proclamation every year he’s been in office as April has become a national awareness campaign for safe digging across the U.S. Everyone who dials 8-1-1 before digging is connected to a local notification center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies such as Atmos Energy, who will then ensure the dig site is safe.

“Whether you are a landscape architect or a ‘do-it-yourselfer,’ if your backyard beautification project requires heavy equipment or power tools, make sure all underground utility lines have been located and marked,” said Todd Fuller, who serves as manager of damage prevention for Atmos Energy of Mississippi. “Safe Digging Month reminds us that calling 811 before any digging project is the safest way to avoid damaging your underground utility lines, which could lead to an inconvenient outage.”

Homeowners are offered the following set of instructions before digging:

  • 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 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.

More information on Mississippi 811 can be found here.

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