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Look out for utility lines while doing yard work

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Spring has sprung! Many people are digging in their yards, whether it is for gardening or construction.

Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to homeowners striking a gas line or other underground utilities. 
Local News 8 talked with local and national officials to learn more.

Hitting those utilities can lead to expensive repairs, service disruptions, and even serious injuries. 
If you do not know where the utilities in your yard are located, you can call 8-1-1 to find out. 

Central Fire Chief Carl Anderson says if you do hit a gas line, you should call 9-1-1 and the gas company at 8-1-1.

"Stand back away from it. Extinguish all flames that…might be going. We don't want to have any kind of an ignition source to accidentally ignite that."

Chief Anderson says you should also call 8-1-1 a few days before you start digging, even if you think know where your underground utilities are. He also shared what not to do if you hit a gas pipe.

"Do not try to pinch it off [or] shut it off by yourself. It can be a dangerous situation."

Never build structures like sheds over utility lines. They can block access to the lines and create dangerous situations.

You might not even notice if you hit a gas line, but there might be signs that can help you realize you have.

"If you hit a natural gas line, you may smell gas where you think, ‘well, I shouldn't be smelling gas,’ or there may be that hissing sound,” said Lawrence Lyon of Occupational Safety.

In some cases, there might not be any noticeable signs you hit a gas line. Those are probably the most dangerous situations.

So remember, if you're going to be digging in your yard, call 8-1-1 beforehand, know where your utility lines are, and be careful.

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Noah Farley

Noah is a reporter for Local News 8.


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