That was the message at a gas safety and awareness meeting Sunday night in the Family Life Center at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg.
The meeting was sponsored by the following gas utilities: BP Pipelines, East Tennessee Natural Gas, Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation, Atmos Energy, Lawrenceburg Utility Systems and Lewisburg Gas Department. Tennessee One-Call hosted and presented the program to approximately 160 attendees.
The purpose of the meeting was to make excavators, emergency responders and public officials aware of the gas systems in their area, how to keep them safe and what to do to protect the public and the underground facility should an incident occur.
Most damages to underground facilities are due to someone digging in the area where the facilities are located.
"Knowing where utility lines are buried before each digging project helps protect those digging from injury, service disruption, fines or repair costs," said Tennessee One Damage Prevention and Education Manager Kathy Quartermaine. "One easy phone call to 811 will get underground utility lines marked for free. Safe digging is no accident: Always call 811 before you dig."
Damages to underground utility lines can disrupt service to the entire neighborhood, potentially harm diggers and damage the environment.
State law requires that anyone who is disturbing the earth (that includes digging, drilling, blasting or demolition work) contact Tennessee One-Call three working days prior to beginning a project.
This quick, efficient and free one-call service will notify the appropriate utilities, who then send locators or locate technicians to the requested site to mark underground lines for free.
Risky assumptions about the location of underground utility lines, some of which can be buried at shallow depths, have led to line damages and injuries. Don't forget that every digging job requires a call, even small projects like planting trees and shrubs, installing a mailbox or fence.
Remember, the service is quick, easy and it's free. Whether you're a homeowner with a shovel or a professional excavator with a backhoe, it's your responsibility and it's also required by state law.
To learn more about Tennessee One-Call and the service they provide go to their Web site at www.tnonecall.com.