‘Tis the Season to Dig Safely!

In this season of holiday cheer, it’s a great time to reflect on a successful 2018 and look forward to all that 2019 will bring. 

The year kicked off with the Indiana Pipeline Awareness Association’s (INPAA) annual series of Emergency Responder Meetings, which offered scenario-based training for emergency response professionals and operators throughout the state. In 2018, the interactive sessions trained thousands of Hoosiers. In 2019, INPAA will again offer this program in cities throughout Indiana, using the updated scenario model. Visit www.inpaa.org to learn more. INPAA continued a successful 2018 by hosting another 811 Firehouse Marquee Contest, distributing a mailer with important safety messages to professional excavators and welcoming Kelli Martin as the new program manager! 

By spring, a proclamation from Gov. Holcomb announced April as Indiana Safe Digging Month in recognition of National Safe Digging Month. Despite an unseasonably cold April, there was plenty of buzz about how to safely engage in digging activities as Indiana 811 informed the public through a variety of media opportunities, including television, a home and garden-themed radio show, and more. Indiana 811 also worked with partners to distribute resources to thousands of Hoosiers at community events, like the Earth Day Indiana Festival and the Indy Free Tree event hosted by DPW Forestry and Indianapolis Power & Light Company.

During the summer, to increase awareness of the Indiana and Kentucky 811 Web Ticket Entry system, the first-ever “I Dig Summer” contest was introduced, giving excavators the opportunity to win big when they submitted tickets online. The program resulted in more than 250,000 online utility locate requests over the contest’s three months. In addition, Indiana 811 had a big presence at the Indiana State Fair. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission ran a retro-type ad campaign reaching families throughout the fairgrounds using unique logo-based Indiana 811 artwork. 

Closing out the summer, Indiana 811 celebrated 8/11 Day across the state. As sponsors of the Indianapolis Indians, South Bend Cubs, Fort Wayne Tin Caps and Evansville Otters minor league baseball teams, Indiana 811 shared resources and giveaways with more than 30,000 baseball fans. In addition, Indiana 811 partnered with Vectren and NIPSCO to deliver fun 811-themed cakes to radio stations, resulting in on-air coverage about digging safely.

Most recently, Indiana and Kentucky 811 hosted the sixth annual Midwest Damage Prevention Training Conference, where a record-setting 533 damage prevention professionals from across the region gathered to network and attend various training and educational opportunities. The 2018 MWDPTC featured the most robust set of all-conference and breakout sessions yet, an exciting retro-themed 811 Classic Welcome Reception, more than 45 vendors and much more.

This past year also saw updates to policies and systems, enabling increased efficiencies among industry professionals. Indiana 811’s Positive Response launched as an online platform that allowed member operators or their contract locator representatives to provide utility locate status updates for excavators in one central location. In addition, the new Design Tool Inquiry and Design Tickets are helping project designers better plan their work to avoid hitting buried facilities well before an excavator submits a locate request ticket. 

Looking back, 2018 was the most effective year for damage prevention in the Hoosier state yet. After a year of great collaboration, it’s likely the 811 community in Indiana has earned a spot on Santa’s nice list this year! Indiana 811 thanks you for your continued partnership and dedication to damage prevention successes in 2018 as we look forward to 2019. Merry Christmas and best wishes for a safe and Happy New Year!

Save the Date for the 14th Annual CGA Conference

This March, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) will once again host the CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo, the largest educational and networking event in the damage prevention industry. The 14th annual event will take place March 26-28 at the Tampa Convention Center in Florida. Join industry peers to network and learn about the latest news and resources in the damage prevention industry. To register for this year’s conference, visit www.cgaconference.com today.

Relive the 2018 MWDPTC – Photos Now Available! 

This November, more than 530 damage prevention professionals gathered in French Lick, Ind., to participate in the largest Midwest Damage Prevention Training Conference (MWDPTC) to date. For the sixth consecutive year, facility operators, locators, excavators, regulators, engineers and other professionals who work near underground facilities gathered to network and attend damage prevention educational sessions. Among this year’s attendees were exhibitors representing more than 45 companies, as well as more than 100 scholarship winners, who each received a free two-night registration package provided by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). 

The conference kicked off with a 70s-80s retro-themed 811 Classic Welcome Reception, complete with a “Who Wore Retro Best” costume contest, photo booth and living statue party guests. Attendees were treated to a keynote presentation by dynamic crowd-favorite safety trainer David Miguel, as well as a featured speech from Cliff Meidl, two-time U.S. Olympian and utility damage survivor. Want to see all that the MWDPTC had to offer? Click here to view photos and click here to view slide decks from the sessions. Already thinking about next year’s conference? So are we! Save the date for the 2019 MWDTPC, which will be held Nov. 6-8. 

Vectren’s Energy Safe Kids Program Wraps Up 11th Year

For the 11th consecutive year, Vectren partnered with the National Energy Foundation (NEF) to bring Energy Safe Kids, an interactive, hands-on safety education program, to students at 177 schools throughout Indiana and Ohio over five weeks. The program reached 14,000 children in 2018, making this the largest number of fourth graders Vectren’s Energy Safe Kids program has reached since the presentations started in 2007. 

Energy Safe Kids educates fourth graders about natural gas and electric safety and the importance of calling 811 before you dig. In addition to the classroom presentations, each student receives an Energy Safety booklet that encourages the student to Live Smart and Take Action by following safety precautions at home and at school. Finally, each participating teacher or classroom receives teaching materials that include a teacher guide, accompanying CD and energy instructional posters.


Secure Your Spot at an INPAA Emergency Responder Training Session Today

Start off the new year with safety lessons from INPAA! From Jan. 14-Feb. 21, INPAA will once again host its annual two-hour safety training sessions to educate emergency service professionals about pipeline safety. Participants will qualify to receive two continuing education unit (CEU) credits. The new and improved scenario-based model of training will again be employed. Check out the schedule below to see when a training session is coming to a town near you, and register to reserve your spot today by visiting www.inpaa.org.  

Jan. 14 – Middlebury at 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 15 – Plymouth at 5:30 p.m. 
Jan. 16 – Michigan City at noon
Jan. 17 – Merrillville at 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 22 – West Lafayette at 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 23 – Kokomo at noon
Jan. 24 – Wabash at 5:30 p.m. 
Jan. 28 – Fort Wayne at 5:30 p.m. 
Jan. 29 – Muncie at 5:30 p.m. 
Jan. 30 – Indianapolis at noon
Jan. 31 – Danville at 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 – Covington at 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 6 – Terre Haute at 5:30 p.m. 
Feb. 7 – Bloomington at 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 – Richmond at 5:30 p.m. 
Feb. 12 – Aurora at 5:30 p.m. 
Feb. 13 – Starlight at 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 19 – Odon at 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 20 – Huntingburg at 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 21 – Evansville at 5:30 p.m.