Cherokee County's fire chief wants his constituents to take advantage of a free service before they decide to dig in the dirt.
Aug. 11 is Call Before You Dig Day, and Fire Chief Tim Prather is encouraging residents to utitlize a little known free service provided by the federal government.
“Every year, on Aug. 11, pipelines and other underground utilities across the nation take the opportunity to remind their communities about the importance of calling 811 to prevent injury, damage and death from hitting underground lines," Prather said in a press release.
In May 2007, the Federal Communications Commission established the 811 number to help excavators, landscapers and residents avoid hitting underground utility lines while
working on digging projects.
A call to the number at least two days in advance will connect residents to their local One Call Center. Those representatives will gather information about a particularly digging project and will notify public utilities in the area.
Professional technicians then are dispatched to mark off the location of any underground utilities with paint before any digging can occur.
“Failure to call 811 before digging results in more than 200,000 unintentional hits annually across the United States," Prather added. "That translates to roughly one unintentional hit every three minutes, many of which require the response of emergency responders and unnecessarily tie up community resources. These situations could easily be prevented by one simple call to 811."