GAHANNA — American Electric Power Ohio is reminding the public to stay safe by calling 811 to have underground utility lines marked before they dig.

Electric, gas, water, sewer and cable utilities rely on underground lines to deliver services to customers. Hitting one of these lines while digging can cause serious or fatal injuries, outages and costly repairs.

"Following these simple steps will help ensure your next home improvement project is a success while keeping you, your family and your neighbors safe throughout the process," said Jim Goodnite, manager of safety and health for AEP Ohio.

From building a deck to planting a tree, every project that involves digging warrants a call to 811 at least two days before breaking ground. After you call, a professional will come to your home and mark the location of any utility lines — free of charge.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, uneven surfaces and previous digging projects. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging just a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

Always know what’s below by calling 811 before you dig. For more safety tips and resources, visit AEPOhio.com/Safety and Call811.com.

AEP Ohio delivers electricity to nearly 1.5 million customers of AEP’s subsidiary Ohio Power Company.

News and information about AEP Ohio can be found at AEPOhio.com.