LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Public utility companies are reminding people that anytime they come near heavy equipment or pick up a shovel, they should first pick up their phone and dial 811 on national "Call Before You Dig" day.
Southwest Gas public information officer Amy Washburn says calling the number before digging could save lives.
One example of what calling could help avoid was in 2016 where a natural gas line rupture happened after a backhoe pierced an underground line in Summerlin starting a two-story fire.
The Common Ground Alliance said in 2019 that 450,000 public utility lines were damaged by digging in the U.S. and most could have been avoided if people had called 811 before digging.
Washburn says the process is simple as calling the number as that will alert public utilities to come to the location of your project and mark all underground lines before you begin to dig.
"Of course safety is always the top priority," she said. "And we want to make sure that all of the infrastructures are staying safe to make sure that we alleviate any risks. Of course, we want to make sure that we are continuing to serve different communities."
The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada says many underground lines can sit just a few inches under the ground. So, personal home renovators should call 811 the same as a large scale contractor.
The PUC says if anyone hits a natural gas line they should stop working, evacuate immediately, call 911 and call the utility company from a safe distance.
Washburn says people should call 811 two days before beginning their project to allow utility personnel time to come to you and mark all lines in the area.