Springtime projects like building a deck, planting a tree or replacing your mailbox can be dangerous if you don’t know what’s below before you start digging. Underground utilities like natural gas lines can run inches from the surface and be ruptured with a shovel or other household tools.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Pipeline Safety reminds you to call 811 before you dig. Minnesota law requires anyone excavating to notify Gopher State One Call at least two days before beginning a project so utility companies can mark the approximate location of potentially hazardous underground facilities.
Digging without knowing the location of underground utilities increases the likelihood of unintentional damage, which can cause serious injuries, service disruptions and repair costs. Call 811 first so you don’t have to call 911 later. Or visit gopherstateonecall.org and request underground utilities near the area you’re digging be marked.
The GSOC Center received 653,483 excavation notices last year, more than 160,000 of them in May and June. The number of excavation requests increases every year, but there were still 198 GSOC violations in 2012. Excavation-related damages in Minnesota have decreased by more than 70 percent since 1996.
Home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season. This is due in part to an increase in cooking and heating fires. Holiday decorations and winter storms that can interrupt electrical service and cause people to turn to alternative heating sources also contribute to the increased risk of fire in winter. Winter fires can be prevented!
Current focus: Cooking fire safety
Cooking is the leading cause of all winter fires. Whether cooking the family holiday dinner or a snack for the children, practicing safe cooking behaviors will help keep you and your family safe.