Always Contact 811 Before Beginning Digging Projects
FORT SMITH, Arkansas (August 10, 2022) – At Arkansas Oklahoma Gas (AOG), the safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our number one priority. In observance of 811 Day, celebrated on August 11 each year, AOG is reminding community members and professional contractors to avoid accidents and utility interruptions by following the law and always calling 811 to have underground utility lines marked before beginning any outdoor projects.
“This is a fun time of year when people enjoy tackling those outdoor DIY projects,” said Cynthia Westcott, Vice President of Operations at AOG. “Because Summit is committed to never compromising the safety of our customers, we’re reminding residents that they must call 811 before they dig. This free and simple precaution will help homeowners prevent service disruptions, serious injuries, and expensive repairs.”
The Common Ground Alliance, a national nonprofit organization working to protect underground utility lines, says damage to underground utilities happens once every few minutes due to failure to call 811. While large excavation projects often cause these mistakes, a homeowner’s simple mailbox installation or even a modest gardening project can lead to striking infrastructure that is right underground.
As part of National 811 Safe Digging Day, and every day, AOG encourages everyone to take the following steps when planning any digging project:
In the event a gas line is struck or ruptured outside of a home or business: Step 1: Leave immediately on foot! Do not use electric switches, telephones (including cell phones), start or drive a car or anything that could cause a spark. Move in an upwind direction away from the leak or vapor cloud where you can no longer smell gas and maintain a safe distance. Step 2: Go directly to a safe location and call both 1-479-784-2000 and 911. Step 3: Warn others to stay away from the leak. Abandon any equipment being used in or near the area.
AOG provides natural gas service to approximately 60,000 residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers in Arkansas and Oklahoma. We’ve been serving the residential and commercial customers in Fort Smith and the surrounding area with safe and reliable natural gas service for nearly 75 years.
Based in Fort Smith in the heart of the Arkoma Basin, this area is rich in natural gas production. That gives us the ability to access and transport natural gas produced from local wells. These local supplies, in combination with our ability to obtain natural gas from interstate pipelines, enable us to provide reliable natural gas service to all our customers.
In 2017, AOG joined a larger group of natural gas utilities when it combined with Summit Utilities, Inc. This added expertise to the team, as well as additional financial resources, for ongoing growth and investments to protect the integrity and safety of AOG’s natural gas system.