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Chapter 8

8.5 Target Mailings

Practice Statement:

An effective damage prevention education program communicates vital damage prevention, safety, and emergency response information to target audiences through periodic mailings.

Practice Description:

Target mailings can effectively communicate essential damage prevention, safety, and emergency response information. Direct mailings containing local information can be mailed to residents and businesses that lie within a specified area. Such mailings are especially useful for reaching those residents and businesses that are in the corridor of the underground facility or proposed excavation route. Some examples are listed below:

  • Direct-mailed billing statements are ideal for including inserts provided by the 811 center because the connection between underground facilities and Dig Safely can be readily made by the consumers.
  • Additionally, space for a damage prevention message can be dedicated on the facility owners/operators’ newsletters that are often included with the billing statements.
  • Direct mailings, either in the form of letters or newsletters, are effective in targeting audiences such as lumber yards and stores, hardware stores, heavy equipment sellers, and rental equipment stores. These mailings can offer support materials such as point of-purchase brochure displays for sales counters, posters for retail aisles where digging equipment is found, and key chains for rental equipment ignition keys.
  • An annual excavator newsletter, originated and mailed directly by the 811 center to all identifiable excavators in the call center’s jurisdiction, keeps the customer base involved and informed of changes to the damage prevention system.
  • Specialized brochures or letters can be mailed directly to address such issues as failure to follow local damage prevention laws, guidance to homeowners to understand the damage prevention process, and special requirements when excavations occur in agricultural or rural settings.
  • Target mailing lists are developed using a combination of facility owners/operators’ and 811 center internal sources, support partner mailing lists, and ZIP-code + 4/SIC code mailing lists. There are numerous software applications and databases available in the marketplace to support this.


  • Various 811 centers including AL, AZ, CT, GA, ID, IL, IA, KY, MS, MO, NM, NY (City), NC, OK, OH, OR, WV, and WI
  • API Recommended Practice 1123
  • 49 CFR Parts 192, 194, and 195

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