The number of construction accidents damaging gas lines in San Diego has increased dramatically, with potentially dangerous consequences, according to San Diego Gas & Electric.
Since 2010, there have been twice as many preventable accidents than usual causing damage to gas lines, according to SDG&E.
SDG&E officials said San Diegans need to be more careful about avoiding gas lines when they are working on construction projects around their homes. They said it's important to "call before you dig."
If you call SDG&E at 8-11, they will send utility crews to mark any gas lines around your home at no expense.
"Already, we've had more than 200 incidents this year. Those numbers really need to come down and we really need the public's help to do that," said SDG&E spokesperson Joe Britton.
A loud hissing sound -- that's the first clue that you may have struck a gas line. SDG&E workers demonstrated a mock gas leak at their training facility Friday to remind customers of the warning signs.
Their facility trains SDG&E workers to respond to broken and blowing gas lines, using technology to detect leaks. Last year, crews responded to 350 pipe lines damaged because of construction or landscaping work.
Currently, they are on track to surpass that number this year.
"Unfortunately, we're on track to repeat that statistic this year," added Britton. "So I think a lot of people don't know that SDG&E will come out and mark their underground utility lines free of charge before they begin any work. So it's really a public awareness issue."
Last year, crews responded to 150,000 requests to mark underground gas lines in San Diego.