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It is almost planting time and the ground is beginning to thaw. Many of us will be digging in our yards. I just discovered a new number to help with digging. It is the new national “Call Before You Dig” phone number (811) designated by the Federal Communications Commission. This number was developed to eliminate the confusion of multiple “Call Before You Dig” numbers because it’s easy to use, remember and it’s the same for every state. It is important to call 811 before digging so that professional excavators and do-it-yourself homeowners are aware of any underground lines buried in the area. This information can help protect people who dig from injury, expense and penalties. Damages to underground lines can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, harm diggers and cost diggers fine and repair costs.

I (Jay Kaiser) personally have been guilty of not calling before I was putting in fence posts on the weekend, and using the tractor with the hole digger, I cut my power totally in half underground that fed power to my house. Huge puff of smoke erupted from the ground and I was fortunate I did not electrocute myself. I was not real happy about paying the power company weekend rates to repair the power line wither. Were was 811 when I needed it?

What Happens After Calling 811?

Similar to the current “Call Before You Dig” numbers, all 811 calls will be routed to a local One Call Center and the affected utilities. The utility will then send crews to the location to mark any underground lines for free.

For more information about the 811 call system, visit http://www.call811.com. To download the most current industry Best Practices in connection with preventing damage to underground facilities, go to http://commongroundalliance.com.

This week is also Severe Weather Awareness week. Governor Bev Perdue in conjunction with the National Weather Service and Department of Crime Control and Public Safety have declared the week of February 27th through March 5Th as Severe Weather Awareness week for 2011. All week long the National Weather Service will be issuing informative messages to help you prepare for severe weather. You may also go directly to this site for more information: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov/awareness.htm.

Priscilla Tinsley, CIC, CISR Account Representative  Morrow Insurance Agency, Inc. Hendersonville NC (828) 694-5135

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