It’s an easy call to make, and it helps keep communities safe. On Aug. 11 (8/11), 811 Day, Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) is reminding everyone to call 811 at least three days before digging.

From home gardeners to professional construction workers, anyone planning to dig must contact 811. That one call helps keep communities safe by allowing WPS and other utility operators to mark the location of underground equipment, including electric and natural gas lines, for free.

Yellow utility location flags lined up in a homeowner's yard.
Consequences of not contacting 811

Digging without contacting 811 can impact entire neighborhoods. Last year, WPS responded to nearly 60 incidents where underground lines were damaged because someone didn’t call 811 before digging. Incidents like these can lead to service interruptions, costly repairs and serious injuries.

The statistics across the country are even more concerning. A recent nationwide survey found that 49% of U.S. homeowners — a total of 34.9 million people — won’t call 811 before digging, putting themselves and their communities at risk.

One call makes a difference

811 Day is an annual initiative designed to emphasize the importance of calling 811 before starting any work that involves digging. It’s easy and extremely effective. Research has shown that if someone contacts 811 before digging, they have a 99% chance of avoiding damage to underground utilities. Along with calling 811, stay safe by only hand digging within 18 inches of marked lines.