Getting out the 811 message: ‘Quick hit’ counts on curiosity

Think about what you do when you’re sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic waiting for the light to change. Chances are you spend at least a little of that time checking out the stickers plastered on the vehicle in front of you.

In fact, Jarrod Morrison of Contract Construction & Program Management for PGE is counting on that.

spotlight-jarrod-morrisonAs Morrison explains, with the help of Fleet Services, his goal is to get an “811 — Call before you dig” sticker placed on the bumpers of all PGE vehicles, everything from line trucks to company vans. His plan — conceived as a Customer Focus Initiative quick hit — calls for stickers to be placed on each vehicle as it makes its way through Fleet Services for maintenance.

“We’re always looking for new and different ways to get the ‘call before you dig’ message out to people,” Morrison says. “Nationwide, about half of the damage done to underground utilities occurs because people do not call and ask for a locate.” A locate is when a professional utility locator visits a site in advance of any digging and marks the approximate location of an underground utility line. In 2007, PGE received 339 reports of so-called dig-ins, which occur when someone hits one of our underground lines.

“We want to get the word out about this free service,” Morrison says. “The stickers are basically a low-cost thing, but it could have a high impact because PGE has more than 1,000 vehicles. I know when I’m stopped at a stoplight; I can’t help but read the stickers on the bumper in front of me.”

More on 811
In 2006 the Federal Communication Commission set aside the three digit number 811 for calling before you dig and it became the nationwide number to call for locates on May 1, 2007. The Oregon Utility Notification Center, (OUNC) the state agency responsible for the Oregon excavation law and the administration of the One Call Center is committed to preventing damage to underground utilities. So, It has joined forces with the Common Ground Alliance, (CGA) a national damage prevention organization and its 1,400 members to participate in its national “Call before you dig” campaign to increase public awareness about the importance of having utility lines marked before digging.