As homeowners are getting ready to enjoy the spring weather and tackle their yard projects, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is reminding Minnesotans to call 811 before they dig.

The DPS says the best way to avoid an emergency or unintentionally striking an underground facility is to call 811 at least two business days before digging. State Fire Marshall Bruce West says the service is free to use.

"It's a free service in place to protect you, your family and your community," West says.

Digging without knowing the location of underground utilities can increase the chance of unintentional damage, which can lead to injuries, service disruptions and repair costs.

Underground utilities like electric and natural gas lines can run just inches from the surface and can easily be damaged by household tools.