Safety, when working outdoors around the home, should be of the upmost importance each and every day. Every year, on August 11, we take time to recognize this outdoor safety with 811 Day, an annual reminder to dial 8-1-1 at least three working days before beginning any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. This free and simple call helps prevent harm to you and those around you, as well as repair costs, fines and inconvenient service disruptions.

According to North Carolina 811, an underground utility line is damaged every nine minutes because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. A call must be placed to 811 before every digging project, from simple landscaping projects like planting trees or shrubs, to building a deck or installing a mailbox.

One call to 811 links you to a local one-call center that notifies all appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Once all lines are marked with stakes, flags or paint, remember to respect the marks and dig with care. Each utility will mark lines in a designated color. Be aware of the tolerance zone, which is 24 inches on either side of the marked utility, and use extreme caution if you must dig within this zone.

For more information about the safe digging process, visit nc811.org.