John Deere is a sponsor of National 811 Day in the United States, August 11, a day set aside by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) to promote homeowner, farmer and contractor awareness of underground utilities through the use of the national 811 call-before-you-dig phone number.
"Our customers are individuals who work the land and their safety is a high priority for John Deere," said Samuel R. Allen, chief executive officer of Deere & Co. "It's vital to call attention to homeowners, farmers and contractors that one simple call to 811 before they dig to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages of important services."
The FCC-designated 811 number was launched in 2007 by the CGA to eliminate the confusion of multiple call-before-you-dig numbers that were being used across the country. As a result, homeowners, farmers and contractors can call one easy-to-remember number to have crews mark a requested site for underground lines prior to any excavation.
"In 2004, it was estimated that there were 450,000 instances of damage from striking underground lines," said Bob Kipp, president of CGA. "As a result of a lot of factors, including establishing the 811 national number, strikes had decreased around 50% since - but that's still not enough. Even one fatality is too many."
Kipp stressed that a lack of knowledge by the public about the importance of having utility lines marked before digging can result in injury or death, damages to underground infrastructure and utility service disruptions to thousands of people at a time. Equipment and business owners can also suffer hefty fines and repair costs.
National 811 Day is not the first time the CGA has partnered with John Deere. Deere helped spread the word when the 811 number was first established in 2007 and has also been a driving force behind the "Safe Digging Month" awareness campaign that occurs each spring.
For more information about the CGA and National 811 Day on August 11, visit www.commongroundalliance.com.