May is electrical safety month: Remember to call before you dig!

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By Melissa Medina

Spring is here, so let me ask you: are you planning any upcoming home improvements?  Do these plans require you to dig up any dirt?  Well, let me give you the dirt on digging before you get started!

If you’re planning on doing any work related to landscaping, driving landscaping stakes into the ground, new fencing, anchoring supports for decks and swing sets, planting trees, removing tree roots, installing a new retainer wall, or even projects on a smaller scale, it’s always best to call before you dig!

The Ohio Utilities Protection Service (O.U.P.S.) is there to help you out.  As a homeowner it is important that you call O.U.P.S. at 8-1-1 or 1-800-362-2764 because not only is it best practice for your safety, it is required by law.  O.U.P.S. asks that you call or contact them online by completing an e-dig request form within two to ten business days before the start of your project.

Why should you make this call?  O.U.P.S. will help you determine the exact location of utility lines and the underground structure surrounding your home.  What if you don’t make the call?  By not calling you will risk costly property or environmental damage, explosion or fire on your property, utilities service interruptions, legal issues, injury, and possibly death.

How can you decipher between all of the different utility lines?  Underground utility lines are color coded:

         Red – Electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables

          Yellow – Gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials

          Orange – Communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit

          Blue – Potable water

          Purple – Reclaimed water, irrigation, and slurry lines

          Green – Sewers and drain lines

          Pink – Temporary survey markings

          White – Proposed excavating

What if you hit a line?  For the protection of yourself and your crew, stop working and evacuate the area at once.  You should never try to repair any leaks or damages on your own, nor should you use your cell phone or anything else that can potentially cause a spark in the vicinity of the damaged line.  If you feel the damage is of an urgent nature, such as a gas line leak, then contact 9-1-1 immediately.  You should call the utility company as well as O.U.P.S.

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Filed under Cleveland Public Power, Electrical Safety Month

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