August 11th is national “Call before you dig” or “811” Day, but JOEMC would like to remind members that ANYTIME you start a digging project around the home they should dial 8-1-1 at least three working days prior. This free and simple step can save lives and reduce the risk of injury, repair costs, fines, and inconvenient outages.

According to North Carolina 811, an underground utility line is damaged every nine minutes due to digging without taking proper precautions. Even small digging projects, like installing a mailbox or planting a tree, warrant an advance call to 811.

The national 811 “Call Before You Dig” phone number links homeowners to a call center, which then dispatches local utility companies to mark line locations with paint or flags.

These marked lines show you where it is—and isn’t—safe to break ground. Once your lines have been marked, make sure to dig carefully around the marks, not on top of them. Because utility line locations can shift, it’s essential to call each time you are planning to dig.

For more information about safe digging and the “Call Before You Dig” process, visit nc811.org.