Community Awareness Committee 2016 Year-End Report

2016 proved to be a busy year for EAPUOC's Community Awareness Committee.

In an effort to create awareness for EAPUOC and to "get our name" out there a new item "Marketing Initiatives" was added to our monthly meeting agendas. The Committee has decided to achieve this goal by partaking in the three day 2017 Alberta Agricultural Society Trade Fair to be staged in Edmonton mid February, participating in the City of Edmonton's Emergency Preparedness Day in Hawrelak Park and the Federation of Gas Co-Ops events. Rick Pratt will man the booth space in each case, set up EAPUOC's display panels, distribute promotional items and brochures and show the video. The Committee is also considering the staging of "awareness lunches" for specific focus groups i.e. contractors, etc.

GRONK attended a number of events in 2016; the most rewarding being "Monday Morning Magic" hosted by Northlands and North American Midway Entertainment at Northlands Park during Klondike Days. This is an event when special needs children between the ages of three and 12 are invited to enjoy the fair at their own speed, with local celebrities, heroes and professional athletes at their side.

Rick Pratt delivered fifteen underground awareness presentations to employees from various excavating, construction contractors and development companies who may not have the opportunity to attend safety seminars or underground awareness training. To ensure the presentation is applicable, a pre-presentation is sometimes given to the Safety Manager/Supervisor. He distributed 8,200 GRONK coloring books to twenty five elementary schools in the Edmonton area and received feedback emails from individuals thanking EAPUOC for their efforts in promoting pipeline and utility awareness. The most notable was from the Principal of "Our Lady of Mount Carmel" who wrote "thank you again for coming to our school and providing us with fun and informative booklets for our students and pens for our staff. It is greatly appreciated and who knows – it could save a life someday or at least prevent some major trouble!" Additional EAPUOC promotional items were given out – these included 2,500 pens, 120 pairs of work gloves and 2,000 GRONK fridge magnets.

Rick Pratt set up fourteen displays at Home Depots and independent rental businesses, giving out EAPUOC pens and information. Click Before You Dig information and posters (which now hang on most of the outlet counters) was supplied by Alberta-One-Call.

Rick Pratt's plans for the New Year include contracting three radio stations and contacting various construction and excavating companies to promote EAPUOC's 2017 Safety Seminar and Trade Show, contacting fencing contractors and land development companies to stage underground awareness presentations and distributing GRONK coloring books, fridge magnets, pens and work gloves in order to create EAPUOC awareness.

In conclusion, I'd like to outline the rational and benefits behind the aforementioned initiatives. Presenting underground awareness training to various construction, excavating and development companies has increased EAPUOC's overall profile and creditability. It identifies us as a very concerned organization with regard to safe digging and development close to utility corridors which may compromise the safety of these utilities. Site visits are always very well received. By taking the approach that EAPUOC thanks and appreciates companies for taking due care and attention around pipelines and right of ways, creates the image that we are not just an authority group looking for fault but concerned about overall public safety. Because the rental outlets have been motivated by years of EAPUOC visits to promote underground awareness, they now realize that they can be influential in promoting underground awareness and look forward to Rick Pratt's displays. The distribution of the GRONK coloring books to elementary schools is extremely well received and corresponding feedback always positive.

Respectfully Submitted,

Doug McTavish
Chair, Committee Awareness Committee.