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Governor Deal Proclaims April 2013 As Safe Digging Month

Know What’s Below. Call 811 Before You Dig.

Duluth, GA April 29, 2013- April has been declared Safe Digging Month in Georgia by Governor Nathan Deal. Joining Governor Deal in a ceremony at the State Capitol were Georgia Public Service Commissioner Doug Everett, construction accident survivor and two-time Olympian Cliff Meidl as well as staff from Georgia 811 and representatives from utility owner/operators, locate technicians as well as professional excavators and contractors.

 

“Georgia has been recognizing Safe Digging month for more than 20 years, encouraging homeowners and professionals to call before digging. Safe Digging Month was first celebrated nationwide in 2007 with the rollout of 811 (the national call before you dig number). Through its nationwide use, 8-1-1 is recognized as the way that we are able to keep both homeowners and the professional excavator safe,” explains Georgia 811 President & CEO Claudette Campbell.

 

“Meidl, who was part of this year’s Proclamation of Safe Digging month, knows first-hand the importance calling 811 before beginning a digging project,” Campbell shares. “While using a jackhammer during an excavation project at the age of 20, Meidl hit three underground power cables. As a result, Meidl severely injured both of his knees. He miraculously recovered from his injuries and, after tireless training, went on to compete in Kayaking at the 1996 Olympics here in Georgia. In 2000, Meidl not only returned to compete again in the Sydney Australia games but was also chosen by the US Olympic team to be the U.S. flag bearer during the opening ceremonies. He now serves as an advocate for safe digging practices and has delivered his story to professionals across the country. By sharing his tragedy and triumph, Meidl hopes to inspire every professional and homeowner to always call 811 before they dig. Georgia 811 is grateful for the generous support from Georgia Power that enabled Cliff join us.”

 

“Cliff Meidl’s experience demonstrates the importance of locating utility lines before beginning any excavation.  His life also serves as an inspiration for everyone on overcoming adversity.  Georgia Power is honored to bring Meidl to Georgia to support Dig Safely Month,” explains Leslie Sibert, Distribution Vice President.

“My personal story connects me deeply to the safe digging message, so I’m extremely honored to partner with Georgia 811 to educate everyone about the importance of making a free call to 811 before they dig,” said Meidl. “Georgia 811 plays a critical role in the safe digging process. This process protects people who dig and communities at large, making this a very important safety message for Georgians.”

 

PSC Commissioner Doug Everett said, “I want to remind anyone who excavates to call before you dig by placing a call to 8-1-1. It’s free and it’s the law. By calling before you dig, we can prevent the disruptions and economic losses that can occur when underground utilities are damaged.”

 

Contacting Georgia 811, by phone or online, begins an important communication process to member utility companies who have service in the area of your project. “The smart and safe way to dig is to always contact Georgia 811 before every digging project, every time. Installing a mail box, fence, pool or even if you have hired a professional to do work for you, all digging projects need to be done safely.  It not only saves lives, but money and time. If you have dug in the past without calling, don’t make that mistake again. The call is free and having the underground utilities marked is free,” explains Campbell.

 

Last April, Georgia 811 took 74,693 requests to have underground utility lines located. For each request, an average of eight member utility companies were notified that digging would be taking place in their service area. By the end of 2011, Georgia 811 had taken over 839,500 requests to have lines located. These requests created over 10.2 million notifications to member utility companies. In 2012, Georgia 811 took 858,000 locate requests. This is a 2% increase over 2011.

 

A free call to 811, or applying online using eTicket at www.Georgia811.com, begins the process of having underground utility lines marked.

 

Georgia 811 notifies member utility companies where and when you plan to dig. These member companies dispatch locate technicians to mark the underground lines with colored paint and/or flags. By respecting the location of the paint marks and flags, you can avoid dangerous contact with underground facilities.

 

Notify Georgia 811 at least two (2) business days before excavation begins. Know what’s below. Call before you dig. Dial 811 or apply on line with the new eTicket at www.Georgia811.com.

 

Established in 1974, Georgia 811 is a non-profit organization comprised of over 775-member utility companies, including cities and counties throughout Georgia that benefit through reductions in lost time, accidents, service interruptions and costly repairs. Georgia 811 has been an industry leader in preventing damage to underground utility facilities and promoting safety and efficiency through high quality and economical notification services. In addition, Georgia 811 provides training and education while encouraging compliance with all applicable laws.

 

Georgia 811 strives to encourage four Dig Safely practices: 1) Call before you dig. 2) Wait the required amount of time for marking. 3) Respect the flags and marks. 4) Dig with care.

 

Georgia 811, keeping Georgians safe and connected. Contact Georgia 811 before you dig, every project, every time, dial 811 or online at www.Georgia811.com. For more about the Georgia “Dig Law”, visit the Georgia Public Service Commission’s website at www.psc.state.ga.us

 

Photo Cutline: Underground utility damage prevention stakeholders gather in honor Governor Deal’s Proclamation of Safe Digging Month, April 2013.

Pictured, L-R

Back Row:

Wendell Holbrook, Cobb EMC and Georgia 811 Board Member

Will Culbreath, Georgia PSC

Terry Pritchett, Georgia PSC

 

3rd Row

Steve Gafford, Georgia DOT

Frankie Rigdon, Ellijay Telephone and Chair of Georgia 811 Board

Tom Tarver, Kinder Morgan and Georgia 811 Board Member

Jim Laplander, City of Savannah and Georgia 811 Board Member

Jeff Patton AT&T and Georgia 811 Board Member

Roy Rogers, Blount Construction

Mike Bolden, Georgia DOT

 

2nd Row

Andy Bare, Georgia 811

Michael Bell, Georgia 811

Richard Krauss, STS/Utiliquest

Jim Weldon, Georgia Power Company

Pat Wingo, AT&T and Georgia 811 Board Member

Mike Nantz, Liberty Utilities

 

Front Row

Vikki McReynolds, Georgia Utility Contractors Association

Deb Collins, Comcast Cable

Cliff Meidl, Olympian and Georgia 811 spokesperson

Governor Nathan Deal

Commissioner Doug Everett, Georgia PSC

Meghan Wade, Georgia 811