Spire urges customers to call 811 during National Safe Digging Month in April

During National Safe Digging Month in April, Spire and utilities across the country are encouraging residents to call 811 before digging to help prevent accidents involving utility infrastructure. Calling 811 before putting a shovel in the ground to build a deck, plant a tree or install a mailbox protects homeowners from accidentally hitting underground utility pipelines.

“By taking the step to call 811 you are helping to prevent accidents from happening,” said Alan Meyer, Spire’s manager of damage prevention. “It doesn’t matter how deep you are digging, if you are putting a shovel in the ground, this is a phone call you must make.”

After the free call, a locator will mark the utilities within the requested area saving a customer time and money. It’s important to call 811 a few business days before you plan to start a digging project. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, if someone calls 811 before they dig, they have a 99% chance of avoiding contact with a utility pipeline. Whether a bush is being planted or a foundation is being laid, calling 811 at the beginning of a project can help keep an entire neighborhood stay safe.
Spire recommends five steps for safe digging:

1. Dial 811 to request a site be marked. The call and the locating services are free.
2. Call at least three days before digging. A locator will mark lines that could be impacted by your project.
3. Spire lines will be marked with yellow flags and/or spray paint.
4. Be careful when digging around the markers to avoid accidentally damaging buried natural gas or other utility lines.
5. If the markings have been placed and you cannot confirm the location by hand digging, call 811 to notify them of a possible incorrect marking. The utility company responsible for the line will come back free of charge and correctly identify the markings for you.

Meyer said that even when individuals follow rules and regulations closely, accidents can still happen. If a pipeline is ever damaged:

  • Never try to stop or slow down the flow of natural gas
  • Move to a safe distance upwind of the damage
  • Keep others away from the area
  • Never try to move equipment from the area
  • Call 911
  • Call Spire
  • Call 811, a nationwide toll-free number, to report the damage
    For more information about safe digging and excavation, visit spireenergy.com/call-you-dig or contact Spire’s Damage Prevention Department at Alan.Meyer@spireenergy.com.