Call before you dig

HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s spring, which means homeowners are digging, planting, and installing… but people often forget that digging a hole can be dangerous, and even deadly.

Dan Ziomek of Hadley Garden Center said many people forget utility lines run underneath their property when starting an outdoor project. “You can’t see it, so all you have do is light a cigarette or light a match, or even start a car and it can explode. So it’s something you really want to be careful with. When it comes to electricity we all know you can get electrocuted pretty easily,” he said.

There are more than 20-million miles of underground utilities nationwide, which is why homeowners are required to call Dig Safe three days before starting an outdoor project.

Stephen Ross is a general contractor at Construct Associates in Northampton, and he told 22News you could be putting your entire neighborhood in jeopardy if you don’t call Dig Safe. “You want to call dig safe because A, you don’t know what’s underneath there, and B, it reduces your liability greatly. There’s gas and electric, as well as telecommunications lines. Those can be very expensive to repair and replace,” he said.

Dig Safe is a free, “one-call center” that will then notify gas, electric, telephone, and cable companies with underground pipes in the area.They’ll then come to your property and mark areas with underground utilities so you can dig around electrical lines and pipes.

Haydenville resident Frances Taylor said she’s seen what has happened when people decided not to make the call before digging. “I’ve known people who have not dug safely and have gotten into horrific problems, running into lines, electric lines and water lines, things like that,” she said.

You can call Dig Safe at 8-1-1, three business days before you start digging.

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