PHMSA | Fire Chief
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is members of the International Associations of Fire Chiefs for their assistance in promoting the national “811— Call Before You Dig” campaign.
PHMSA is hoping fire chief will encourage their residents to calling 811 a few days prior to digging. Calls will be routed to a local One Call Center, which then will notify local utilities companies about the residents' intent to dig. The utilities companies then will send a locator to mark the approximate location of underground lines, pipes and cables.
“We need the nations fire chiefs to help us make 811 to become as well-known as 911," PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman said in a prepared statement. "Digging without getting utilities marked is not only dangerous, it can also cut off services to an entire neighborhood and cost money and major inconveniences."
Damage to pipelines from excavation is a leading cause of pipeline incident–related death or injury. Since the establishment of the universal 811 hotline six years ago, the number of serious pipeline incidents from excavation has decreased by more than 45%.
The Common Ground Alliance (CGA), a PHMSA pipeline safety partner, reports that approximately 30% of homeowners plan to dig on their property this year for an outdoor home or property improvement project. Fire chiefs can remind residents to call 811 at least 48 hours before they start work.
“The good news is that most digging-related incidents can be prevented with a single call to 811,” Quarterman said.
Last year, PHMSA produced and distributed an 811 Public Service Announcement (PSA) for television and radio. This PSA is available in both English and Spanish at http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline.
PHMSA also hopes fire chiefs will help highlight the promotion of August 11  as “National 811 Day.” These efforts are coordinated nationwide by CGA, along with partner states and underground utilities companies such as Verizon, Baltimore Gas & Electric, and Shell Pipeline Company. The CGA has many free resources to assist public safety organizations with their 811 outreach efforts. These include a communications plan/calendar, National Safe Digging Month templates and logos, and campaign ideas that are all available on the CGA Web site at http://call811.com/campaign-materials/default.aspx.
Fire Chiefs can take specific actions to promote 811, including:
Visit PHMSA’s Pipeline Safety Guide for more information on safe digging practices and what to do if you detect a gas pipeline leak. Additional information concerning damage prevention initiatives is available on PHMSA’s Stakeholder Communications website at http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm.