Deere sponsors safe digging awareness day

August 11 is National 811 Day, for the dig safe hotline.
August 11 is National 811 Day, for the dig safe hotline.
The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and John Deere are promoting August 11 as National 811 Day in the United States, to raise homeowner, farmer and contractor awareness of underground utilities through the use of the national 811 call-before-you-dig phone number.

The FCC-designated 811 number was launched in 2007 by the CGA to eliminate the confusion of multiple call-before-you-dig numbers that were being used across the country.

A lack of knowledge by the public about the importance of having utility lines marked before digging can result in injury or death, damages to underground infrastructure and utility service disruptions to thousands of people at a time.

Construction equipment and business owners can also suffer hefty fines and repair costs.

Samuel R. Allen, CEO of Deere & Company, said it's vital to call attention to "that one simple call to 811 before they dig to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages of important services."

In 2004, there were an estimated 450,000 instances of damage from striking underground lines, said Bob Kipp, president of CGA.

"As a result of a lot of factors, including establishing the 811 national number, strikes have decreased around 50 percent since," Kipp said. "But that's still not enough. Even one fatality is too many."