Many of us have heard about the recent tragedy at a Murrieta home that claimed the life of a veteran SoCalGas employee and injured 15 others. Our hearts and thoughts are with all the individuals, their families, and the firefighters who have been impacted.
The circumstances of this tragedy make us feel compelled to do everything we can to increase public awareness about gas safety and the importance of calling 811 to get gas lines marked before undertaking any excavation work.
Every Six Minutes
Every six minutes an underground utility line somewhere in America is damaged because someone did not call 811, the national “Call Before You Dig” phone number. In SDG&E’s service territory, a few hundred times a year, homeowners or contractors accidentally hit SDG&E’s gas lines.
Last year, SDG&E crews responded to about 300 incidents where gas lines were damaged due to construction or landscaping activities. Already this year, there have been 94 preventable strikes on gas lines.
Data shows that when customers call 811 before digging, the likelihood of hitting a utility line is decreased by 99 percent. That’s why SDG&E is working hard to get the word out about the importance of doing due diligence and going through the proper steps before digging.
We’ve been working with local media to spread the message far and wide to make sure the public is aware of the potential dangers of not calling 811. To see recent coverage on the importance of calling 811, check out ABC 10 News, CBS 8 News, and Fox 5 News.
We would also like to remind customers of our basic safety tips, found here.
Due Diligence Save Lives
No matter what you’re doing, if you’re digging, call 811, even if the work doesn’t involve natural gas or natural gas appliances.
Remember, if you smell natural gas (it has a rotten egg smell because an odorant is injected into natural gas to make it detectable), hear the hissing sound of gas escaping or see other signs of a leak, immediately evacuate the area and call either 911 or SDG&E at 1-800-411-7343 from a safe location. We will send a technician out to investigate.
Don’t smoke, light a match, candle or other flame near a gas leak. Also, don’t turn electrical appliances or lights on or off, operate motorized equipment or vehicles, or use any device that could cause a spark.