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Storm cleanup & recovery: Don’t make a difficult situation worse — call 811

By Staff | Oct 11, 2017

To the editor:

Hurricane Irma got a lot of press for the unprecedented amount of power outages she caused throughout Florida. There were photos of downed power lines and instructions on what to do when you encountered one.

But what didn’t get press were the things you couldn’t see – underground utility lines.

Fences, mailboxes and trees are often placed near underground utilities, making storm restoration connected to replacing these items more at-risk for the professionals and homeowners doing this important work. Buried utility lines are hit once every nine minutes because someone didn’t call 811 before digging. Striking a single line can lead to personal injury, penalties, repair costs and expensive or inconvenient utility outages.

Don’t dig blindly. Call Sunshine 811 at 811 or use our online service at Sunshine811.com at least two full business days before you dig. Sunshine 811 notifies utility companies, which then send their locators to mark any lines in your yard with paint or flags. You may have seen these markings before.

Different colored paint or flags represent different types of utilities. For example, red paint indicates buried electric lines, orange indicates communication lines, yellow indicates gas lines and blue indicates water. Visit Sunshine811.com for a complete list of the color codes.

This is a free service paid for by your neighborhood utilities to keep you safe and prevent accidental utility outages.

Getting underground utilities located before digging is a state law. There are a few more required steps in the process to keep you safe. Visit our storm recovery page for more information and important links at sunshine811.com/storm.

Mark Sweet

executive director

Sunshine 811