Today, Grade 5 students at Calgary’s Langevin School had the chance to locate a hidden line under Astroturf, learn the colours of different underground utility flags and smell a scratch-and-sniff surprise to help identify the scent of natural gas. This is all part of Youth Energy Safe, a program created to educate children and youth on underground utility safety in the rural and urban communities where the company operates. Youth Energy Safe is being launched by TransCanada across Alberta as part of a pilot program this fall.
“We have pipelines and facilities across North America, so it’s important to educate all our stakeholders – no matter what age – to ensure the safety of our communities,” says Michelle Wagner, program manager, Public Awareness at TransCanada.
After receiving requests from teachers and community groups for a program targeted at helping children and youth remain safe around underground utilities, TransCanada created a program that reinforces Click-Before-You-Dig messaging and helps with leak identification and response.
“The Youth Energy Safe program is a result of significant research and input from students and teachers. It’s another piece of TransCanada’s comprehensive Public Awareness program that is designed to keep our stakeholders safe.”
— Michelle Wagner, program manager, Public Awareness at TransCanada
Third-party damage to underground services continues to be the leading cause of pipeline safety incidents, so TransCanada works with groups including the Alberta Common Ground Alliance to promote safe digging; Youth Energy Safe reinforces those messages.
“Langevin Science School provides opportunities for students to learn in and from real-world sources. Programs such as this allow our students to continue to build their knowledge about science-based considerations in the world around them,” says Carole Ware, teacher at Langevin School.
“The Youth Energy Safe program demonstrates our commitment to going beyond regulatory requirement. It’s about doing what’s right.”
— Vern Meier, vice-president, Pipeline Safety and Compliance at TransCanada
Youth Energy Safe was developed to reach children between Grades 4 and 6 and teens between Grades 10 and 12. The children’s program includes the underground utility safety cartoon above, while the youth program is targeted at an older audience. There is also a community program for youth of all ages.
“Our Public Awareness Program educates our stakeholders about living and working safely near our pipelines. Keeping our communities safe is a commitment held across our organization, and we have robust pipeline integrity and public awareness programs in place to do just that,” Meier adds.