Chief’s Corner: Know what’s below – call before you dig |

Chief’s Corner: Know what’s below – call before you dig

Mike Brown

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Chief’s Corner” is a regular feature in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza from North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Mike Brown, offering information, tips and education material on fire safety, emergency preparedness and other pertinent topics.

April is National Safe Digging Month and it’s a good time to remind the public to “call before you dig.”

This national outreach campaign focuses on homeowners and contractors with a safety message about the importance of calling 811 at least two-working days before the start of any digging or underground excavation project so utility-owned lines can be properly marked and avoided.

The call is free, quick and easy, and helps to ensure individual and public safety.

“It’s important to call 811 prior to any digging project. It’s a safety step everyone should take, no matter what kind of project they are planning, large or small,” said Byron Elkins, Southwest’s Director of District Operations, Northern Nevada. “We advise everyone to call before you dig. Even if it’s for an at-home landscaping project that includes hand digging when planting a shrub or tree. By calling 811, homeowners and professional contractors alike can help to prevent injuries and inconvenient outages, and reduce property damage.”

For more information about National Safe Digging Month, visit and remember:

• Always call 811 at least two working days before the start of digging or underground excavation projects.

• Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.

• Respect the marks and hand dig within 24 inches of natural gas pipelines.

• If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Do not allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.

As part of an ongoing commitment to safety, Southwest Gas reminds the public of the following signs of a possible natural gas leak: a hissing noise coming from the ground or an above-ground pipeline, dirt or water blowing into the air, discolored vegetation surrounding a pipeline, standing water continuously bubbling, and/or the smell of rotten eggs, even if the odor is only slight or momentary.

In the event a leak is suspected, the company advises individuals to leave the area immediately and call 911 and Southwest Gas at 1-877-860-6020 from a safe location.

Other utility listings for reference:

Liberty Energy: 530-544-4811

NV Energy: 800-782-2506

Sierra Pacific Power Company: 530-541-1949

For more natural gas safety and energy efficiency tips visit

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