A Look Back at 2016
It has been a very exciting and busy year for Indiana 811. To start, Indiana 811 experienced eight straight months of exceeding 100,000 locate requests per month, a huge volume of requests. Additionally, this November, the number of locate requests Indiana 811 processed was 21 percent higher than November 2015.
This year, sports sponsorships also kept Indiana 811 busy. In addition to promoting the safe digging message through sponsorships with the Indianapolis Colts and minor league baseball teams, including the Indianapolis Indians, South Bend Cubs and Evansville Otters. Indiana 811 teamed up with Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), Common Ground Alliance, the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) and many other Indiana-based damage prevention stakeholders for an 811 takeover at the Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard on July 24. Racegoers received important safety reminders through “811” and “call before you dig” signage throughout IMS. It’s through partnerships like these that we help ensure Hoosiers know the importance of protecting underground utilities to keep themselves and their communities safe.
In August, Indiana 811 received great exposure on 8/11 Day (Aug. 11) after delivering special cakes decorated with a safe digging infographic to Indianapolis television and radio stations. The cakes not only promoted 8/11 Day, but also a block party held in Carmel and sponsored by several Indiana 811 members and damage prevention partners. Media coverage of 8/11 Day appeared on every local network TV station, as well as on Indy classic rock station WFBQ 94.7 FM, home of the Bob & Tom Show.
Indiana 811 was also very proud to launch the first-ever Midwest Damage Prevention Training Conference scholarship program in 2016, thanks to the support of the IURC. You can read more about the scholarship program below, but through the scholarship, 105 individuals were able to attend the conference for the first time last month, learning important best practices and other key information to bring back to their companies and integrate into their safety programs.
As the year comes to a close, we at Indiana 811 would like to thank you for your continued partnership and dedication to damage prevention. Have a great holiday season and Happy New Year, and we look forward to the year ahead!
- Dan Meiners, Executive Director, Underground Safety Alliance
Fourth Annual Midwest Damage Prevention Training Conference Sells Out with Record Attendance
The 2016 Midwest Damage Prevention Training Conference (MWDPTC) was a great success with nearly 500 professionals in attendance for a sold-out event at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind., last month. The three-day conference, which took place Nov. 16-18 and was hosted by title sponsors Indiana 811 and Kentucky 811, saw a 43 percent increase in attendance over 2015 and featured networking and damage prevention education for industry stakeholders.
This year’s conference was supported by 40 sponsors and 48 vendors from across the nation. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in more networking options than ever before, including golf, the second annual turkey shoot, and for the first time, horseback riding. The conference began with a welcome reception on Wednesday, and keynote speaker Shane Bush kicked off a full schedule of breakout sessions on Thursday with an engaging and humorous speech about why people make mistakes and how to reduce human error.
Other conference highlights included the highly attended session, “JJ’s Restaurant Explosion: A Case Study,” which profiled the investigation of a tragic Kansas City, Mo., accident from 2013, a compelling session from Sgt. Michael Carrick of the Indiana State Police about safety in an active shooter scenario, and the MWDPTC’s first-ever scholarship program.
MWDPTC Scholarship Program Welcomes New Attendees to the Conference
For the first time, through a scholarship program sponsored by the IURC, the MWDPTC awarded free two-night registration packages to first-time attendees from across the state. Following an application and selection process, 105 damage prevention professionals attended the MWDPTC this year through the scholarship program.
INPAA to Host Emergency Responder Trainings in New Interactive Format
Beginning next month, the Indiana Pipeline Awareness Association (INPAA) will hold trainings for emergency service professionals to hone their skills and knowledge about pipeline safety. The two-hour trainings offer a convenient option for busy schedules and allow emergency response professionals to earn two CEU credits. This year, the meetings will take on a new interactive format through Coordinated Response Exercise trainings. Using table-top scenarios, specialized per the local community, the new discussion-based format will allow attendees to address safety in an energetic group environment. Meetings will take place on weekdays in January and February and are organized by county clusters. For the training schedule and to RSVP, please visit www.inpaa.org.
Introducing Planet Underground TV
Planet Underground Media, publisher of The American Locator (formerly Underground Focus) magazine, has started a new video project called Planet Underground TV (PUTV). It’s a free resource geared toward everyone working in the design, installation, protection and maintenance of underground utilities. PUTV believes authentic stories of damage prevention professionals need to be shared more widely within the industry, not only to increase expertise, but to promote understanding and collaboration.
PUTV examines the “safe, but fast” goal from groundsmen to crewleaders, ticket-processors to engineers. The new project supports a safer future, where data collection, information sharing and technological improvements attract the best and the brightest to the utility business.
The second full-length episode will be released soon and takes a look at this brighter future through interviews with HBK Engineering. To learn more and to watch the episodes, visit planetunderground.tv today!
- By Rory Parilac, Planet Underground Media