After the Storm: Hurricane Response
When a hurricane leaves a trail of broken fences, toppled trees and power outages in its wake, recovery and clean up take center stage with little thought of anything else.
We get it. You're eager to finish removing large trees and other debris, and even get your yard spruced up. But underground utilities can pose a real danger. The last thing we want is for your efforts to create a communications or power outage that affects you or your neighbors.
That's why you must call 811 first, wait for marks and dig carefully. For more information on the 811 process, visit our homeowner page.
NOTE: If you see a line down, running across your street, yard, driveway, or even the freeway, DO NOT cut it to get it out of the way. It could still be live! Cutting it could cut off communications, making it virtually impossible for electric and communications companies to coordinate utility restoration. That means longer without power and internet. Worse, it could be a live electric line and you could lose your life.
Hurricane Response Toolkit
811 BEFORE INSTALLING OR REPLACING A FENCE
Fences are typically placed on property lines. That's also where underground utilities can run. Always call 811 before putting in a fence. Hitting an underground utility here can not only cause a service outage for you, it could also cause one for your neighbor. Keep the peace. Call 811. It's the law.
811 BEFORE GRINDING A STUMP
If you look at this tree, you'll see two irrigation lines running out of its root system. The lines are broken and leaking water. Imagine if they were electric or gas lines. If you have a stump left over from the storm, call 811 before pulling it out or grinding it. Buried lines could run underneath just like what is pictured above. Always call 811 before digging. It's the law.
811 BEFORE REPLACING OR INSTALLING A MAILBOX
Mailboxes are often placed in an easement where utility lines run. It's the law to call 811 before you install or replace a mailbox. The photo above shows electric, communications and gas lines dangerously close to the mailbox. You may want to consider moving the mailbox. If that's not possible, hand dig carefully to find where those lines run so you can avoid them. Call 811 before digging. It's the law.
ROOTS CAN GROW INTO UTILITY LINES
This photo shows how roots can grow into and become entangled with underground utility lines that extend out from the electric transformer. As the roots grew, they lifted the transformer. This is also what can happen with a tree's root system and why you need to call 811 before pulling it out or grinding the stump.
On a side note, most utility companies advise you not to plant around their utility boxes for easy access during regular maintenance and repairs.
EVEN PICKING UP STORM DEBRIS CAN BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR SAFETY AND UNDERGROUND UTILITY LINES
Equipment used to pick up storm debris can accidentally dig into the ground and pull up utility lines. If you operate this equipment, be careful. Watch for permanent utility markers and even temporary marks that could indicate underground utilities are nearby. Scoop carefully!
TEMPORARY MARKS HELP YOU IDENTIFY UNDERGROUND UTILITY LINES
This photo shows you examples of temporary marks which are laid as a result of your call to 811. Generally, the marks are made with flags and paint in colors that represent the buried utility. (Note: The color of the actual utility line or conduit it is in does not represent the utility.) The marks give you an idea of the approximate location of underground utility lines near where you plan to replace the mailbox, fence or dig. There are precautions that you need to take when digging near this area. Click here to learn more.
PERMANENT MARKS ALERT YOU TO NEARBY UNDERGROUND UTILITIES
When you see these markers or utility boxes, it's a good indication that buried utility lines are nearby. That's why the 811 system exists and why it's the law to call 811 two full business days before you dig. If, after calling 811, you don't see marks at your dig site and one of those markers are nearby, first check the positive response system for a no conflict code. If there isn't one, contact the utility owner.
Get more information on the Positive Response System here.