National Safe Digging Month Across the Country

CGA kicked off its 10th National Safe Digging Month (NSDM) with the launch of the 811 Hot Air Balloon, which has spread the 811 safety message to hundreds of thousands of people. Members across the country have used this new tool, CGA Communications Plan materials and their own creative ideas to spread the safe digging message across the country this April.

Members Celebrate NSDM
The 811 Car and Bike joined Lone Star 811 at Paradigm Pipeline Safety Meetings on April 10, 11 and 13 to help spread the damage prevention message and celebrate NSDM in the southern U.S.

Alabama 811 secured an 811 public service announcement placement during the Final Four in its media market. The Alabama Public Service Commission recognized April as Safe Digging Month by way of resolution.
Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and Commissioner Jeremy Oden signed the “811 Safe Digging Month” resolution on April 4 in Montgomery, Alabama.

Call Before You Dig of Connecticut secured Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proclamation of April as Safe Digging Month, and issued a press release about the proclamation that included a quote from the governor.

Gopher State One Call, along with the 811 Car and 811 Bike, were at the HmongTown Marketplace in Minnesota on April 28-30 to help to spread the 811 message to visitors and pass out promotional items.

Once again this year, Indiana 811, Kentucky 811 and the Ohio Utilities
Protection Service joined efforts on an 811 safety float that appeared at the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day Parade.

Indiana 811 mixed radio advertising, sports marketing and media relations to promote 811 during NSDM in the Hoosier State. Indiana 811’s radio campaign focused on promoting 811, Indiana 811’s single address online system,, and state dig law elements. These spots ran statewide during the morning rush hour time block. For sports marketing, Indiana 811 worked with minor league baseball teams on campaigns that included sponsorship of a school reading program (South Bend Cubs) and sponsorship of the “Call to the Bullpen” with the Indianapolis Indians. Also in Indianapolis, Indiana 811 sponsored an animated video board feature where fans follow three moving mounds of dirt for 30 seconds to determine which one contains Indiana 811 mascot Holey Moley. At the end of the month, Indiana 811 sponsored the radio broadcast of the Indianapolis Colts’ participation in the NFL Draft. And finally, Indiana 811 secured a proclamation from its governor, as well as media interview opportunities on radio and television across the state.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and NIPSCO worked with the CBS affiliate in South Bend, Indiana for a news story that educated the public about how to avoid hitting utility lines.

Go Green for Spring presented by JULIE, Inc. (Illinois One-Call System) welcomed families and race fans to celebrate Safe Digging Month at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. The fundraising event in early April featured an event-exclusive track lap  opportunity, interactive displays with community partners, raffles and more. JULIE offered a creative design-a-pot coloring activity for kids and distributed flower seed packets along with 811 materials. Proceeds directly benefited Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway’s non-profit foundation, R.A.C.E. JULIE also executed a takeover of the ESPN Chicago website while the NFL draft was ongoing, attracting lots of eyeballs to the organization’s important safety

Louisiana 811 hosted a NSDM shrimp and fish fry for its employees and board members at its corporate offices during April to celebrate safe digging.

Mark-It! Madness’ online game “Can You Dig It?” reached hundreds of thousands of potential diggers this April, recording 416,470 digs this year, an 11 percent increase over 2016. In addition to actual digs, social media outreach for this campaign displayed safe digging messaging to many more potential diggers.

MISS DIG 811, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy designed an April 18 media event around the donation of trees and shrubs for a Habitat for Humanity build in the metro Detroit area. Each piece of greenery had an 811 shovel tree tag. More than 350 private nurseries in Michigan will receive 811 shovel tree tags for use on their products.

Miss Utility of Maryland/Washington, D.C. used an integrated media and sports marketing campaign during NSDM to reach the digging public with the damage prevention message. During Safe Digging Month (as proclaimed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan), Miss Utility targeted professional excavators and homeowners through more than 2,500 30-second morning drive radio ads across the region. These ads focus on the top reasons for damage in the region – “excavation practices not sufficient” – through reinforcing the importance of respecting the tolerance zone and other dig law topics. Additionally, Miss Utility sponsored the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals post-game shows on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network during NSDM. The sponsorships featured the “Miss Utility Player Who Dug Deep,” meaning the game’s clutch performer. The  sponsorships reminded viewers to call 811 before they dig. Additionally, Miss Utility ran an online banner campaign that targeted homeowners who are engaging in online behavior that indicates they may be digging in the near future. This specific type of online targeting yielded big results in 2016.

Mississippi 811 secured the proclamation of Governor Phil Bryant of April as Safe Digging Month.

On April 17, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
(NJBPU) President Richard S. Mroz, New Jersey
One Call and New Jersey utility leaders held a news
conference to discuss the importance of safe digging.
In addition, NJBPU President Mroz presented a proclamation issued by Governor Christie recognizing
April as New Jersey Underground Damage Prevention Month. The 811 Car and 811 Bike were on display.

Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed April 2017 as Safe Digging Month in a ceremony at the Nebraska State Capitol. The Nebraska One Call Board of Directors, along with many Nebraska811 associates, were on hand to witness the event. Pirate Safe Digging Poster Contest winners were invited to attend the proclamation ceremony and tour the capitol.
Winning posters from the contest were displayed in the rotunda. Senators Lou Ann Linehan and Steve Erdman took the time to congratulate the winning artists and thank them for helping to promote safe digging.


Nearly 300 damage prevention professionals joined New York 811 at its 5th annual Excavation and Safety Expo, where they were able to network, garner tips and best practices about damage prevention from New York 811 staff and hear from keynote speaker Shane Bush about why people make mistakes and how to reduce human error. The event also featured the 811 Car and Bike and nearly 20 exhibitors, and was sponsored by Con Edison, One Call Concepts, National Grid, PSEG Long Island and USIC.

North Carolina 811 was up to a lot during safe digging month in 2017, starting off with the distribution of internally produced safe digging month TV and radio spots in partner-ship with the North Carolina Broadcasters Association, as well as 40 new billboards across the state. On April 13, the safe digging month proclamation was signed by Governor Roy Copper at the state capitol in Raleigh. NC811 Education Liaison Howard Corey also appeared on the morning news in Greenville in April. In addition, NC811 did outreach at minor league baseball games in Asheville and Charlotte and held a tree planting ceremony and 811 safe digging poster contest at an elementary school in Union County.

The Ohio Utilities Protection Service executed a homepage takeover on Cleveland news-radio station WTAM 1100 during the first week in April to spread the safety message to area residents.

People’s Gas representatives visited the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences on April 28 to give a tutorial to 100 students about how to locate buried utilities and provide general safe digging information, which
garnered local media coverage.

Pennsylvania 811 (PA811) collected safe digging proclamations throughout the state. Since January, the One Call center has collected 380 proclamations from county and local government entities, and has commitments from dozens more. PA811 has garnered at least one proclamation from a government entity in 62 of 67 counties in the state.

Sunshine 811 mixed radio, outdoor and online campaigns to reach professionals and home-owners across Florida during April. Sunshine 811 ran nearly 1,000 radio ads across the state in April alone, reaching the digging public with messages focused on 811, but also on legal compliance with positive response and tolerance zones. Statewide outdoor bill-boards reached people traveling on the busiest highways in Florida, and online campaigns that targeted homeowners and professionals drove thousands of new people to

The 811 Hot Air Balloon touched down at Texas811 on April 21 for the 20th annual Texas811 Golf Tournament at Bear Creek Golf Club in Dallas, where it was joined by damage prevention stakeholders and special guest, actor Burton Gilliam.

The Texas Pipeline Awareness Alliance ran 811 digital ads reminding the public to always call 811 before digging, including a prominent one on the Houston ABC affiliate’s homepage.


Staff Report


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