CHARLOTTE, N.C.-- Raeford Vinson knows a thing or two about yard work.

I've been cutting grass for over 20 years, he said. They call me the 'Grass Man.'

Vinson does all types of work from mowing, planting and landscaping. But when that work includes digging, he knows to first call the local gas company.

You have to make sure you don't hit a gas line, he said. [Calling] is always something I do.

Wednesday morning, Piedmont Natural Gas crews were out in south Charlotte, searching and marking gas lines at one home.

It's springtime, so everybody's out and they have projects to do, said homeowner David Trusty, who is also a Piedmont Natural Gas employee.

The honey-do list is exponential, he joked.

He says anyone thinking about digging in their yards should call 811 first. More importantly, plan ahead, and give the gas company at least three days notice.

You just have to call 811, he explained.

That's a national call-before-you-dig number. So no matter where you live, call 811. They will get in touch with the local utility, so the utility provider will have those lines marked. It's free, and easy to do.

Trusty says 811 is used quite often. About 10,000 people call the number in the Charlotte area each month. However, there are also about 1,000 calls a year for those that damage lines while digging.

Trusty says there have not yet been any injuries, but the homeowner is responsible for any repairs.

Seven to $800 would not be atypical if [someone] damages or cuts the line.

Though there have not been any injuries, Piedmont Natural Gas employees say the biggest problem when a line is hit is having a loss of gas to the home.

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