Have You Called 811?
For years, Dig Safely New York, utility companies, government agencies and contractor organizations have been trying to educate the public, their own employees and members about the importance of establishing and using one-call numbers for determining where utilities are buried. A single utility hit can potentially cost thousands of dollars in damages to property and underground infrastructure, plus liability for loss of services. It can cost even more in the form of fines, increased insurance rates and the additional expense for equipment replacement. Worst of all, is the potential cost to your employees. Yet, despite the risk, underground damages in various forms and degrees of severity, happen 700,000 times a year in the U.S. when people digging do not realize there are utilities buried in the area.
Since April of last year, 20,000 underground utility location requests were placed with Dig Safely New York utilizing the convenient, easy-to-remember 811 number to “call before you dig.”
For those of you who may not be aware, 811 was issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to eliminate the confusion of multiple “Call Before You Dig” numbers across the country, and, in the case of New York, the confusion between “Dig Safely New York” upstate, and the "New York City and Long Island One Call Center” downstate. Now, anywhere in New York State, one phone call to 811 will quickly and easily begin the process of getting underground utility lines marked for free.
The 811 call process is efficient, and just as easy as calling the other numbers. It is not designed as a replacement for the already established 800- 962-7962 number for Dig Safely New York or the 800-272-4480 number for New York City and Long Island, but simply as an easy-to-remember number which routes callers to the correct call center regardless of where they are working. Dig Safely New York will continue to maintain the 800-962- 7962 number, however, 811 now provides you with an easy to remember universal method of “calling before you dig”, anywhere in New York State, and around the U.S. as well.
Having 811 issued by the FCC is a huge step in moving forward with public awareness.