The provisions in Chapter 556, F.S. do not apply to making an excavation or demolition during emergency situations where there is: 

  • A clear and present danger to life or property
  • A leaking substance
  • An interruption in vital public or communication services
  • Dangerous roadways (i.e. no traffic light at a busy intersection)

During emergencies, the utility owner or its agent can do one of two things:

  1. Immediately begin repairing the damaged utility and request an after-the-fact emergency ticket at your earliest convenience. When requesting after-the-fact emergency tickets, note in the Remarks section that work is completed.
  2. Request an emergency ticket before digging. If you choose this option, note in the Remarks section that a crew is onsite or the expected time of arrival. But, be aware that there are no legal requirements to locate and mark within anything less than two full business days.
Photo by Underspace

Photo by Underspace

NOTE: If your company requires a crew to locate emergency tickets within two hours or any other time frame less than two days, check the Remarks section so that you aren't sending a locator out to mark an emergency that is already repaired.

Excavator Procedures

  1. If you damage a buried utility or even just nick it, stop digging and contact the owner of the utility.
  2. If you strike a gas line and hear a hissing, whistling or roaring sound - or smell rotten eggs - shut down the equipment, call 911 a safe distance from the gas, clear the area and contact the owner of the utility.
  • Avoid starting any engines. Engine ignition can cause gas to ignite.
  • Be careful of other ignition sources such as static from nylon jackets, cigarettes, lighters, electrical switches, cell phones, pagers, cameras and metal tools.