Page 6 - Alabama 811 Magazine 2020 Issue 4
P. 6

Working Together to
Keep Facilities Safe
During a Natural Disaster
In September, Alabama’s coast was hit HARD by Hurricane Sally. A few of us at Alabama 811 started hearing that the southern part of the state had sustained a large amount of wind damage, with thousands without utilities, and thousands of trees uprooted.
With uprooted trees, comes the likelihood of uprooted utilities, and the likelihood of increased excavation and clearing efforts. In the days post Sally, it started to become clearer and clearer that the area’s utilities had a big task ahead of them.
It got us thinking that these crews were probably extremely overwhelmed in getting services restored, and not that it isn’t an important matter, but the promotion of 811 when working around all of these lines, probably wasn’t very big on their radar. That assumption proved correct in some ways, after having some follow-up discussion with some of the utilities.
It was very important to them, but they simply just didn’t have the time.
We started thinking about some ways that we could quickly provide some sort of assistance, and a few items quickly came to mind.
An easy and first thought, is that we load up the 811 van with as many damage prevention materials as we could carry, and made a quick trip down to hand deliver items to some of the larger utilities hit.
Secondly, reach out to the local operators to see if they had media contacts, and set up some “811 reminder” news interviews while we were down there delivering materials. Daphne Utilities was able to reach out to one of their local contacts, and we were fortunately able set up a great segment.
Lastly, we were reminded of a neat idea based off of Mississippi 811’s yard signs they’ve placed around some of their previous areas hit by natural disasters. We took an example of one they had created, modified the message, and thought it would be a good “grassroots” type effort that could provide some quick and short-term assistance. We laid out the messaging, and then also provided a QR code at the bottom that would link anyone who scanned
it directly to the Alabama 811 website. The thought was that if we get them in the hands of the utilities, they would be able to use them where they best fit. Riviera Utilities’ locators placed them in some of the hardest hit areas, and in front of Foley City Hall’s permit entrance. The signs pictured accompanied us on our trip down to the coast as well.
As previously mentioned, it’s not that 811 wasn’t important, these utilities just didn’t have the time, and Alabama 811
is always willing to help. Any time a utility is in need of assistance, when it comes to helping share the 811 message, provide a little more training to your crews or excavators in your areas, or just need market and advertising assistance and ideas, don’t ever hesitate to let us know.
Even during the current “Covid 19” times and natural disasters, we can mail materials, provide webinars, and a multitude of other resources. Even though we’ve faced these tough times in 2020, excavation numbers really haven’t slowed, and we all need to make sure we are still doing our part and continue to educate our own crews, and homeowners and excavators in our areas.
4 • Alabama 811 2020, Issue 4

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