Governor Nathan Deal Declares April 2014 as Safe Digging Month in Georgia.
Know What’s Below. Call 811 Before You Dig.
Duluth, GA April 22, 2014– April has been declared Safe Digging Month in Georgia by Governor Nathan Deal. Joining Governor Deal for a ceremony at the State Capitol were Federal Administrator for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) Cynthia Quarterman, Georgia Public Service Commissioners McDonald and Everett, Georgia 811 President and CEO Claudette Campbell, as well as representatives for locate technicians, professional excavators, utility companies, first responders, forestry commission, GDOT, GEMA and others.
“Georgia has been recognizing Safe Digging month for more than 25 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, 811 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.
“PHMSA is committed to improving pipeline safety to protect the public and the environment and we appreciate the State of Georgia’s leadership in supporting National Safe Digging Month and Call 811 Before You Dig initiatives,” said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman. “Pipeline safety requires a combination of enforcement, information sharing and transparency, and public education, and today we are showing how collaborating and sharing responsibility in these efforts can further reduce human consequences from excavation related pipeline accidents, not just here in Georgia, but across the nation.”
Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr. added, “For those states that do not currently have a damage prevention program, I would issue a challenge to follow Georgia’s lead and begin such a program because it is the right thing to do.”
Commission Vice-chair 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 86,999 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 2013, Georgia 811 had taken 945,539 requests to have lines located. This is a 10% increase over 2012.
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 online with the 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 atwww.psc.state.ga.us.
Photo Cutline: Stakeholders gathered to celebrate the occasion including PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman, PSC Commissioners McDonald and Everett and GA811 President and CEO Claudette Campbell. Complete list of stakeholders is below in alphabetical order:
Jason Allen, GA State Fire Marshall’s Office
Tim Bearden, Director GA Public Safety Training Center
Charity Belford, GDOT
Mike Bell, Georgia 811
Allen Bell, Georgia Power
Willie Boston, Assistant District Manger – GA Forestry
Tiffany Callaway-Ferrell, Atlanta Gas Light
Dickie Calmes, Dixie Pipeline
Claudette Campbell, President & CEO Georgia 811
Don Carter, Atlanta Gas Light
Vikki Consiglio, Georgia Utility Contractors Association
Doug Everett, GA Public Service Commissioner
Christina Garrard, GA Emergency Management Agency
Wendell Holbrook, Cobb EMC
Keith Howard, Assistant Director GA Public Safety Training Center
Jessie Husband, Colonial Pipeline
Jeff Kenerly, Chief Ranger, Sr. – GA Forestry
Mike Khayata, PHMSA – Office of Pipeline Safety
Richard Krauss, Utiliquest
Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, GA Public Service Commissioner
Chief Jack McElfish, Sandy Springs FD
Terry McLaurin, Georgia 811
Lauralyn Mustaki, Georgia Association of Broadcasters
Terry Pritchett, GAPSC fiscal budget officer
Administrator Cynthia Quarterman, PHMSA
Frankie Rigdon, Ellijay Telephone and Georgia 811 Board Chair
Roy Rogers, Blount Construction
Terri Rosamond, AT&T and Georgia Utility Coordinating Committee Chair
Mike Schmidt, Ringgold Telephone
Jeannie Shiffer, PHMSA – Director of Governmental, International, and Public Affairs
Tom Tarver, Kinder Morgan
Davies Timothy, Georgia Association of Broadcasters Board Chair
Lee Upkins, GDOT
Meghan Wade, Georgia 811
Chief David Wall, GA Public Safety Training Center
Isaac Weathers, Georgia 811
Mark S. Woodall, Associated General Contractors