INPAA Emergency Responder Meetings Conclude with High Participation
Last month, the Indiana Pipeline Awareness Association (INPAA) concluded a series of 20 Emergency Responder Meetings, which provided two-hour trainings for emergency response professionals to hone their skills and knowledge about pipeline safety. Larry Thomas, a 32-year law enforcement veteran from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation whose career included directing the KBI’s involvement in the BTK Serial Killer Task Force, served as this year’s speaker. Now an instructor with Paradigm Liaison Services, Thomas’ training presentation drew from his experience in law enforcement and criminal investigation. The meetings, held in January and February, showed increased attendance from prior years and reached 3,100 emergency responders in total.
Investing in Training
Recently, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) has begun to invest Underground Plant Protection (UPP) Account funds into training and education throughout Indiana. After running a pilot training day based in Indianapolis during the spring of 2015 and receiving positive reviews, the IURC rolled out five full-day training seminars spread across Northern and Southern Indiana during January and February 2016.
These Safety Day seminars featured a variety of presenters. These included Baker Peterson discussing the Indiana dig law, the importance of documentation, and digging best practices; a safety improvement discussion from a local excavator (Reith-Riley in the North, Ragle in the South); an operator’s perspective on safety and working together (NiSource/NIPSCO in the North, Vectren in the South); and an update from the Underground Plant Protection Advisory Committee (UPPAC) regarding changes to the penalty schedule for 2016.
Overall, Winter Safety Days brought in more than 300 professionals from 120 companies to discuss ways to improve facility safety, learn best practices and review dig law fundamentals. These professionals represented excavators, locators, facility operators, insurance providers, and many other parts of the utility world.
What are attendees saying about Winter Safety Days?
“This was a very informative session. I met a lot of companies with the same issues and the utilities are there to help also. I feel like I have made a very good working relationship with several, which will help me solve issues from different angles.”
“Just want to compliment Steve Baker on his presentation. Nice job and was great to see him.”
“ …very good job, look forward to seeing you next year!”
Overall, the program has been extremely successful, and reviews from attendees are very positive. Based on the feedback we receive, the IURC will continue refining our training programs and roll out more Safety Days and educational opportunities across Indiana.
If you want to keep up with how the UPP Account is used and get informed about other training opportunities, incentives and outreach efforts, visit the IURC’s UPP Account page at www.in.gov/iurc/2847.htm.
-Contributed by Darby Miller, Underground Plant Protection Account Program Manager, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission
811Now.com: The Quick and Easy Online Tool for Single Address Locate Requests
In 2014, Indiana 811 launched 811Now.com, an online service that allows professional excavators and homeowners who plan to dig at a single residential address to simply "click" before they dig. 811Now.com's simple online form asks the same questions asked by Indiana 811 telephone agents when an excavator or homeowner requests to have member utility companies mark the approximate location of underground lines. As the weather warms up and peak digging season approaches, hold times for phone calls made to Indiana 811 will likely increase, but for those digging at a single residential address, 811Now.com is available on demand at any time. Since the launch of 811Now.com, the split between locate requests made by phone and by the Internet has gotten closer and closer to being about fifty-fifty. For additional information about 811Now.com and to make a single address request, please visit: 811Now.com.
Indiana 811, Vectren and NIPSCO Ask Emergency Responders to Support National Safe Digging Month
This April, Indiana 811, Vectren and NIPSCO are once again asking emergency responders across the state to remind their communities about the importance of safe digging by posting messages on the sign in front of their organization's facility or by hanging an Indiana 811 banner. All organizations that submit a photo of their promotion to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30 will receive a $50 donation, and all submissions will be entered into a grand prize drawing for a $1,000 donation. This program is made possible through the support of Vectren and NIPSCO. Be sure to encourage the emergency responders in your community to participate!