New resource aims to reduce annual springtime digging incidents
Ross McClelland has seen firsthand the chaos and damage caused by a failure to ‘call or click before you dig’.
“In the 1980’s when I worked for the City of Calgary, a contractor hit a two-inch water line and flooded the parking lot of the Children’s Hospital,” recalls McClelland, now with Alberta One-Call. “There was so much water released that within a few minutes, the underground parking lot was flooded and cars were damaged.”
McClelland has spent most of his professional working career in the underground utilities industry. He knows how important safe digging practices are to the safety of individuals and the community. He spent 33 years working for the City of Calgary Waterworks Department, and is consultant for the Calgary Region Utility Damage Prevention Committee.
He’s now begun a new adventure as the new dig safe ambassador for Alberta One-Call.
One of his first roles – with April designated Dig Safe Month in Canada and Safe Digging Month in the United States – has been to spearhead Alberta One-Call’s recently-launched Dig Safe Ambassador Pilot Program.
The program aims to reduce digging accidents and proactively engage contractors and homeowners to ensure they’ve called or clicked to locate any underground utilities before they’ve begun work. It is estimated by the Common Ground Alliance’s Damage Information Reporting Tool, that 273,599 digging events were recorded in Canada and the United States in 2014.
And TransCanada has made a major contribution to those efforts, with the donation of a new Alberta One-Call truck donated by TransCanada’s Rocky Mountain Regional (RMR) office.
“We were very excited to show off that new truck wrapped in Click Before You Dig advertising,” said Mike Sullivan, president, Alberta One-Call; and chair of the Alberta Common Ground Alliance (ABCGA) following a recent unveiling ceremony at the ABCGA conference in Red Deer.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without the generous contribution from TransCanada’s RMR office. They saw a need for this truck, and they made it happen.”
Patricia Poulton, TransCanada’s Community and Aboriginal Relations liaison for RMR, and ABCGA conference chair; was thrilled that the truck was unveiled at the conference.
“This was so exciting to see the new truck parked out front with the important message about calling or clicking before you dig,” said Poulton. “We are confident that this donation will help generate more awareness in the region about the importance of safe digging practices.”
As part of the program, two Alberta One-Call trucks wrapped in Click Before You Dig advertising – including the vehicle donated by TransCanada – will drive around northern and southern Alberta promoting safe digging practices and liaising with contractors and landowners.
In addition to engaging folks directly, both Alberta One-Call trucks will have their own social media handles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for people to follow and interact with.
McClelland, who is driving the TransCanada donated vehicle in southern Alberta, can be contacted directly in the truck through @DigSafeYYC on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
“I want to meet as many people as possible and make the public aware of how much damage can be caused if they decide not to request a locate,” says McClelland.