What better way to remind equipment renters to call the national 811 One-Call Center before they start digging than affixing stickers to thousands of trenching and digging machines.

Compact Power Equipment Center (CPEC) has joined with 811 to encourage users to always call 811 at least two days before dirt starts flying so underground utility lines can be clearly marked. More than 4,000 pieces of rental equipment and their trailers will carry the high-visibility 811 reminder stickers.

The decision to launch the sticker campaign is especially timely. A recent survey by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) found that nationwide an underground utility is damaged by digging every three minutes.

Homeowners and contractors who call 811 are connected to their local one-call center. The center immediately alerts the appropriate utility companies of planned digs. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines using flags, spray paint or both.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree and laying a patio are all examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

Visit www.call811.com or www.nc811.org for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.