8-1-1 Call before you digAugust 11 (8/11) is National Safe Digging Day, and NIPSCO wants to remind customers to call 811 before any digging project to have underground utilities marked.

“No matter what day it is, we want to continue to remind everyone that calling 811 is an essential part of any outdoor digging project,” said Jennifer Barbour, damage prevention manager. “Safety is always our number one priority, and this one simple phone call contributes to ensuring our customers and communities are safe.”

Digging into underground lines is the biggest risk to NIPSCO’s gas system, and the leading cause of damage. According to Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an underground utility line is damaged every six minutes because someone decides to dig “blindly.” Striking an underground utility line while digging can cause harm to you or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, and potentially result in fines and repair costs.

How 811 works,811 is a free national service that everyone from homeowners to businesses should call or enter a request online at www.811NOW.com two business days before the start of any digging project.  A representative will answer the call to find out the location and description of the digging site and notify the affected utility companies of your intent to dig. The utility companies will each send a professional locator to the digging site to identify and mark the approximate location of the underground lines and once lines have been marked, the project can start but remember to dig carefully.

Additionally, NIPSCO customers who take the important step of contacting 811 will be automatically entered to win a gift card for $811 to a home improvement store. Four random winners will be selected on September 8, 2015.

For more information on 811 or official sweepstakes rules, visit NIPSCO.com/811.