BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Firefighters from the Bakersfield Fire Department joined forces with Pacific Gas and Electric for an important simulated drill regarding gas safety on Tuesday.

The drill involved a coordinated response to emergency events involving natural gas, including damages to gas pipelines due to digging by homeowners and non-PG&E contractors.

While PG&E encourages the use of 811, a free service to have lines located before digging, underground utility lines are frequently damaged during yard improvement or construction projects. The drill allowed firefighters to work alongside PG&E crews so everyone was better prepared to work together.

“Practice and preparedness is probably going to be our best friend when we go out and protect the public,” said Brandon Cole, Gas Program Manager with PG&E. “It helps us understand what each individual role is inside an incident in a practice environment. We can make mistakes in a control environment, where we don’t have to practice out there in the public.”

According to PG&E, there were 57 incidents in Kern County last year where PG&E utility lines were damaged due to digging.