Call 811 now : or 911 later

April 10, 2019

Juan Flores had kind of a tough day at work Wednesday. 

He kind of “died.” 

No, not really. The Fort Wayne concrete worker just had to play dead during a demonstration of what can happen if excavators don’t heed a long-standing warning of utility companies: “Call 811 before you dig.” 

Or, as Darby Reagan Miller, underground plant protection manager for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission put it : “Call 811 now : or 911 later.” 

The demonstration of what can happen if dig safety precautions aren’t observed took place during a regional training session at the Allen County Fairgrounds. 

Attended by more than 160 members of the excavation industry, the IURC-sponsored training aimed to improve worker and community safety, Miller said. 

Last year, 2,056 gas lines in Indiana were damaged by strikes : 133 of them in Allen County. The county’s number has gone down in recent years : from 174 in 2016. 

But most could have been prevented by following proper procedures, according to the IURC.