For Release: 08/11/2017

Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Chicago Fire Department, and 811 Chicago celebrate 811 Day with safe digging and fire prevention demo

Local utilities commit to Gold Shovel Standard, lead damage prevention efforts

CHICAGO - Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, the Chicago Fire Department and 811 Chicago celebrated national 811 Day with a demonstration on how to locate and mark underground natural gas pipelines and prevent natural gas related fires, with a simulated response with the Chicago Fire Department at the Peoples Energy Training Center in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. The demonstration served as a reminder to contractors, excavators, homeowners and others to call 8-1-1 for locating and marking underground facilities prior to excavation.

National 811 Day is observed each year on August 11 to raise awareness about calling 8-1-1 at least 48 hours before beginning any digging projects. Activities like landscaping, installing a mailbox, and building a deck are among the projects that require a call to 8-1-1.

“The safety of our customers, employees, and the communities we serve is our top priority and we want to ensure they understand the importance of calling 811 before digging,” said Lori Flores Rolfson, vice president – operations and maintenance, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. “As prominent excavators, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas’ commitment to Gold Shovel Standard (GSS) is vital in driving a culture of damage prevention.”

The utilities also announced their adoption and support of GSS, a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to public and workforce safety at excavation sites that provides standardization in damage prevention performance across the industry.

“While the Chicago Fire Department stands ready to respond to any emergency including damage to natural gas lines, it is always best to prevent damage from occurring in the first place,” said Daniel Cunningham, district chief, Chicago Fire Department. “A simple call to 811 will provide assurance that lines can be marked and protected, minimizing need for emergency response and costly repairs.”

GSS has been embraced by some of the largest telecom companies, gas and electric utilities, pipeline operators and a variety of municipalities. GSS-certified excavators have a demonstrated commitment to high safety standards, and ongoing engagement with continued training and education in industry best practices.

“Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas are taking a leadership role in the formation of a Gold Shovel Standard Community in their region,” said Dave Mauerman, executive operations, Gold Shovel Standard, “These utilities are embracing the opportunity to bring the excavation community together in order to significantly reduce damages to buried infrastructure.”

Peoples Gas has approximately 4,000 miles of underground distribution and transportation natural gas pipeline in the city of Chicago. Natural gas and electric lines are buried underneath property throughout the city and could be in striking distance.

“Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. It is important to remember that reaching out to the local One-Call is the first step to a safe excavation on any project” said Jai Kalayil, Chicago Department of Transportation. In support of these Ideals, the recent adoption of the Gold Shovel Standard by Peoples Gas’ will continue to grow the culture of damage prevention in our excavation community.

Visit ,, or for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.

For More Information, Contact:

  • From: Vanessa Hall
    312-240-4774 (office)
    773-391-1295 (cell)


WEC Energy Group