As Grade 6 students from Deer Meadow School noisily enter the Olds Agriculture Society’s arena, Brianne Bartman finishes her setup of the TransCanada display station. Along with a button maker, she’s brought marker flags and AstroTurf. She’s also arranged for TransCanada pipeline technician, Brett Grandy, to show the kids how to use his line locator to find pretend pipelines under the AstroTurf.
Bartman is a member of TransCanada’s Public Awareness team, which works hard year-round to educate stakeholders about living and working near the company’s pipelines. TransCanada reaches hundreds of thousands of people annually through its Public Awareness outreach initiatives, which have recently expanded to include youth as a stakeholder group. Working with communities near pipelines helps ensure residents will call or click before they dig to prevent dangerous situations, costly repairs and service interruptions.
“As part of the program, the Public Awareness team seeks out opportunities to participate in local community events which allow us to meet and talk with our stakeholders,” Bartman explains. “That’s how we ended up participating in this Safety Day event.”
The March 11 Safety Day in Olds, Alta., was one of several provincial Safety Day events arranged by Ag for Life, an organization TransCanada helped found. In groups of 10, the students made their way through all six display stations, each one offering different safety activities related to hazards on the farm, including animal safety, chemical safety, grain storage, machinery safety and underground utilities awareness.
For TransCanada, these Safety Days help reinforce the message to call or click before digging. By collaborating with organizations like Ag for Life, Progressive Agriculture Foundation (PAF) and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA), TransCanada can ensure that Safety Days events receive the financial support they need to reach more communities across Canada and the United States.
“Supporting Ag for Life and other organizations like it is a great way to promote a culture of safety in communities throughout Canada,” explains Terri Steeves, director of field operations for the Rocky Mountain region at TransCanada and Ag for Life board member. “More specifically, it’s also a means of preventing injuries, property damage and outages by ensuring that Canadians are calling or clicking before they dig.”
Carey Colin, vice-principal of Deer Meadow School, also sees value in Safety Days.
“When safety is taught through stories and interactive displays like the ones at Safety Days, it has some real staying power with students.”
— Carey Colin, vice-principal, Deer Meadow School
When the ground begins to thaw around the month of April, Safety Days are especially relevant. As Safe Digging Month, April is the time of year when Common Ground Alliance stakeholders come together to reinforce the important message that professionals and homeowners call or click before they dig.
TransCanada, which operates a network of natural gas pipelines that extends more than 68,500 kilometres throughout North America, works to promote safe digging by collaborating year-round with industry and community partners. TransCanada recognizes safety is paramount in the construction, operation and maintenance of its gas and oil pipelines across North America and takes part in community initiatives to enforce safety messaging in a fun, engaging way as part of its responsibility.
To see the great work Ag for Life is doing to support rural communities through farm safety and agricultural education, or to host a Safety Day event in your community, visit the Ag for Life website.
A recent visit to Strathcona Country Elementary School in Strathmore, Alta., gave students the opportunity to learn about pipeline safety through a hands-on experience in recognizing the sights and sounds to look out for.