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Spread the 811 Word: A Letter from the IAFC President and PHMSA

Dear IAFC Member,

The IAFC and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) ask the nations fire service leaders for help in promoting the national "811 – Call Before You Dig" campaign in your communities to increase public awareness of hazardous gas and liquid pipeline safety and how to reduce digging-related risks.

We want 811 to become as well known as 911, because digging without clearly locating underground utilities is a danger not only to those who are digging, but also to the general public and the emergency responders who respond to incidents that occur as a result of not having utilities located.

Calling 811 can prevent a call to 911.

Damage to underground utilities from excavation remains a major problem across the United States. It's a leading cause of pipeline incidents and can result in death or in serious consequences, including injury and property damage. These incidents can often be prevented.

Incidents related to unsafe digging practices can compromise community safety, disrupt critical services and cause significant disruption and environmental harm. According to the Common Ground Alliance, every three minutes, digging activity damages a buried utility line and 30% of those incidents occur because a free call wasn't made to 811 to notify the local call-before-you-dig center.

To help promote 811, PHMSA produced a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for television and radio to help improve awareness of the importance of using 811. This PSA is available free in both English and Spanish and can be downloaded from PHMSA's website.

We're asking firefighters to consider the following activities to promote 811:

We need your help to spread the word about "811 – Call Before You Dig." If you have a pipeline incident in your community, remind them that a call to 811 could prevent a call to 911.

Additional 811 campaign information is available on PHMSA's website and at the Common Ground Alliance website.

If we can be of further assistance or answer any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact Annmarie Robertson, Program Manager, Division of Program Development, at 317-253-1622 or by email.

Cynthia L. Quarterman
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

Chief Hank Clemmensen
IAFC President and Chairman of the Board

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