Thursday, Aug 20- Tina Sanders from Texas811 & the DPC of Texas Joins the show to talk about various initiatives that Texas811 has going on at the moment.
Troy Hudson: [0:00] Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, welcome to the most amazing interview show on the information superhighway.
[0:09] Now zooming to you live and simultaneously from two secret studio bunkers in dual time zones located somewhere south of Alaska east of Area 51 north of Guantanamo.
[0:19] If I give you one more clue we’ll all be in deep trouble. It’s the amazing twin namesake separated at birth the two most famous guys, not in witness protection. It’s “Coffee with Jim & James.”
Jim Schauer: Good: [0:37] morning, LinkedIn community. Welcome to another fine episode of Coffee with Jim & James. Wait a minute before we get started. Where’s my shovel? Where’s my back hoe? I have palm trees to plant. I have fences to put in.
[0:52] The most important tool I need before I get started. Is this my cell phone because why who am I going to call? No, it’s not Ghostbusters. It’s 811 always call 811 Before You Dig.
[1:05] That’s a great intro into our exciting episode today, but before I do that my brother in arms the person that picks me up every morning. Mr. James Cross is here sir, James, how are you? This fine and beautiful morning?
James Cross: [1:18] Man, it is hot here in Texas Jimmy. I don’t know. I don’t know how warm it is. I know you live in Florida. You can run out to the beach get in the water man here in Texas am I right, Tina?
Tina Sanders: [1:34] You are absolutely correct. Very hot.
. James: Hot: [1:38] Well, I kind of took the cards a little bit but Tina Sanders is joining us with Texas811 and and the Damage Prevention Council of Texas.
[1:47] I won’t get into all the titles and and special accolades that she had well let her do that because I’ll screwed up. So Tina, how are you today and tell our viewers a little bit about how you’re involved with Texas811 and the Damage Prevention Council.
Tina: [2:05] Sure. First of all, I want to thank both of you for inviting me on today. I am Tina Sanders. I am the damage prevention manager for the Northeast Texas region.
[2:17] I work for Texas811. It is the call before you dig know what’s below. Thank you very much Jim for making sure that you remind everybody that the very most important tool that you can have at the very beginning of projects. Is that that that phone to place the call? That’s right.
[2:36] I also work with the Damage Prevention Council of Texas. I am on the board for the DPC of Texas. We have 23 Regional chapters. And so I just kind of wanted to let you know who I am and what I’m here to talk about today.
Jim: No,: [2:53] it’s interesting. Let me let me jump in I you know, I always have those wacky intros and James puts up with me bless his heart. I’ll say that.
[3:02] Being serious, 811 is such a imperative part to not only being a homeowner but really what we do in life in the energy industry. We’re putting things in the ground and we need know what’s there.
[3:15] Can you give us a little insight into the one‑call process from both your side as well as you know the consumer side or the contractor side?
Tina: Sure. : [3:26] Texas811 is the one‑call notification center for Texas.
[3:32] We are the link between the excavators proposed construction of proposed excavation site their plans to excavate and us reaching out to the utility operators and notifying them that an excavation project is fixing to take place.
[3:51] The excavator would make the 811 call or submit a ticket through the portal and we would through the mapping that is provided. We would be able to pull up the utility operators that have underground utilities in the area. Push a notification ticket out to them.
[4:07] Then they would be able to respond either with their in‑house locators or a third‑party locator to go out and mark the proposed excavation site.
[4:15] That’s just kind of a real quick synopsis as far as what the what the front side of the one‑call process is.
James: Pretty : [4:24] cool. Tina for lack of a better word we shared the stage a few times at different events. And so I’ve been blessed to hear you speak on on Texas811 and various initiatives going on.
[4:40] Some of the terminology that is used in our industry. Maybe some people especially more in particular to damage prevention. Some of our people may not be 100 percent, you know aware of some of those terms. Things like white lining and potholing and daylighting and things like that.
[5:00] Can you just give us a high level view of what that looks like and define those terms and everything for us?
Tina: : [5:09] Sure. Let’s talk really quick about white lining and it really is your first step to the 811 process. It is excavators white lighting or they can and and this is a CGA definition.
[5:25] It’s to mark the proposed excavation site with either white paint, flags, or stakes or combination of those, getting out there and doing that before you make the call to 811 or submit a one‑call ticket.
[5:39] It takes the guesswork out of where is the excavation site going to be. That that is as the quick synopsis of what what white lining is.
[5:50] As far as the potholing and daylighting goes. It is once the proposed excavation site has been white lined. And once utility operator has gone out there and put paint or flags on the ground.
[6:03] You know, there is a tolerance zone that is added. It’s 18 inches on either side plus half the diameter of the underground utility. Anything within that tolerance zone. No mechanized equipment can be used.
[6:14] So when we talk about potholing we talk about getting in there and potholing to expose or daylight the underground utility and they’ll be what potholing will tell you is. It’ll tell you the for the horizontal or vertical location of the underground utility.
[6:32] It’s going to tell you what type of utility it is and it will give you the depth of the utility. So once you’ve exposed it, one of the things that we also make sure that we remind excavators is go ahead and reapply that tolerance zone 18 inches and half the diameter of the underground utility on either side.
[6:49] Then, again, you want to make sure that you use hand tools within that tolerance zone area but it by exposing it at the excavator can actually see the underground utility. They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re working around.
[7:01] Those are two things beyond just making the 811 call that’s really important in the excavation community.
James: Tina, I: [7:09] got a question along those lines also. So so as a homeowner, you know from the other side right? I’m just you know, this is interesting to me.
[7:19] As a homeowner. I want to put out, you know, I want to put a new spigot you know, I’m home out back like on the back of my property.
[7:28] Obviously, you know, run‑of‑the‑mill homeowner may not know terms like white lining things like that. What are our expectations you know for a homeowner just this is where I plan to put something, you know, you know what I’m saying?
[7:43] What can you expect on the user side when you’re not in the industry?
Tina: Well,: [7:49] one of the things that we have with it within Texas811 one of the things that we have provided as a tool for homeowners is if you’re a first‑time caller or it’s your first time to submit a one‑call ticket. [8:01] There is a place on there to check so that information can be emailed to you. That kind of breaks the whole process. Okay, and that makes things a lot clearer to homeowners a lot clearer to first‑time excavators, maybe if their mom and pop shops.
[8:18] That’s something that we do provide to them.
James: [8:20] Awesome.
Tina: [8:21] We do. Is to explain to them that underground utilities will be marked up to the property line and/or the meter and of course, if you’ve got a utility easement, you’ve got utility operators that will mark within that utility easement.
[8:38] Those are that’s part of the awareness portion for homeowners that you know, it’s really hard to put that into it a quick commercial but it is part of what we do deliver to them and it is part of what the information that we do have on our website too.
Jim: Let: [8:55] me ask you a question about the website because you mentioned portable for portal before and in this day and age. I’m a telephone guy. I’d like to pick up the call or the phone 811 call have a conversation with somebody. After about 20 minutes. They say Jim we have to go we don’t know you.
Tina: [9:11] laughs]
James: [9:13] Imagine that.
Jim: But: [9:16] you know, is there electronic ways for you mentioned for contractors? And I’m sure know. They’re set up with this as commonplace every day. For the homeowner, can they do the same type of thing electronically or they mostly the call in.
Tina: Well,: [9:32] I mean, it’s just really about 75 percent of the one‑calls and we do have three million one‑call notifications that come through every year that are called in. Approximately 15 million plus that are pushed out. Okay, so that gives you an idea of the volume.
[9:48] Approximately 75 percent of the one‑call notifications that are submitted are submitted through the portal and we’ve made it super easy for homeowners to go into Texas811 website and there is a section on there to click for homeowners.
[10:03] And so so like I said, it makes it super easy. You can still have the 25 percent like you Jim that would prefer to speak to someone and I do get that I get that often and that’s OK.
[10:14] We have we have fantastic fantastic damage prevention agents that are ready to take the call and answer any questions. So either way. As long as you’re making the call.
Jim: : [10:24] One quick follow‑up question talk to somebody is it just during normal business hours Monday through Friday or is extended or how often is 811 manned.
Tina: So,: [10:36] Texas811 the notification center is available to contractors homeowners. It doesn’t matter 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a week a year and that includes any kind of holidays as far as taking the calls.
[10:50] Now there is going to be be a couple of things that you know, we need to remember when you’re submitting a ticket that the time frame the waiting time frame does not include Saturdays Sundays or legal holidays recognized holidays.
[11:05] When you talk about, you know submit a one‑call ticket and you’ve got to give the 48 working hours or 2 business days.
[11:12] If you are calling on a Friday just remember your Saturday and Sunday or if there happens to be a legal holiday that’s going to affect when it will be time for you to get out there and start your work.
Jim: [11:22] Gotcha.
James: [11:22] Tina way we at EWN where you know, we have provided online training for a long long time. And I know I know Texas811 and start I’m sorry the damage prevention the you guys have a no‑cost damage prevention training that you offer online.
[11:50] Can you tell our viewers a little bit about that and how they may be able to utilize that?
Tina: Sure. : [11:57] We as a team the damage prevention team got together. We each selected a day of the week. And so there is training every single day of the week.
[12:08] Right now. We have the the calendar set up through September. So if they were to get online, it’s a one hour sometimes one hour and 15‑minute depending on how many questions we get. Hey, we’re fine with questions, but normally about an hour and 10 minutes 15 minutes.
[12:24] It is a damage prevention is really geared towards the one‑call process. It’s geared towards a damage damage prevention damage investigation what to do in case of a damage talks a little bit about chapter 18 and 251 which are the one‑call laws that govern one‑call in Texas.
[12:48] Those are like I said, they’re free. They don’t mean they don’t cost anything. We have them. Normally we’re training about 45 to 50 folks every single time.
[12:56] We have a meeting and we also do the meeting in espanol. So we do it in Spanish. I think three times a month. Which is great because we do have a large large portion of the excavation that’s taking place in Texas those subcontractors, maybe limited English proficiency or English as a second language.
[13:16] We don’t want the language barrier to keep them from doing the right thing and to go home safely to their families and to make sure that those lines stay intact and the product keeps running through them.
James: That’s: [13:30] great, great stuff.
Jim: Go: [13:34] ahead, James. I’m sorry.
James: No,: [13:35] that was it.
Jim: I was going to ask
Tina: [13:37] with everything going on that training sounds really exciting. And we’ve all embrace the whole virtual world.
[13:43] Do you have events coming up or most of your things right now like online training until we get out of this this period so to speak?
Tina: As: [13:53] far as event face‑to‑face events, we don’t have any face‑to‑face events that we’re actually doing. We actually are supporting in our East Texas Chapter Damage Prevention Chapter. We actually have a Texas Oil Field Angels event.
[14:06] They over in East Texas are still actively having events. They are social distancing, but they have a barbecue event that’s coming up.
[14:16] We have provided arm bands for them with they are going to pass on the damage prevention information, you know know what’s below call before you dig just so just quick synopsis of it. And so that’s happening.
[14:30] But as far as us and our team goes, we’re still having Damage Prevention Chapter meetings. They are virtual, of course. I have them regionally.
[14:39] So all of my regions get together and we talk about maybe some things that are trending right now. What are some issues that you’re having some challenges with.
[14:46] We’re having utility operator roundtables. We’re having locator roundtables and we’re having contractor roundtables.
[14:58] We’re getting some feedback and buy‑in and some suggestions from those industry stakeholders so that we can hopefully make some changes within the industry to help them do their job better for the lines to be located faster and to make sure everybody goes home safely.
[15:15] These webinars are just I mean, those are just a portion we have workshops that we’re still doing we’re bringing in folks to talk about H2S.
[15:22] We’re having actually I have an individual be talking about the procedures the proper procedures for potholing and daylighting.
[15:29] I mean we talked about it. It’s an arbitrary thing, but we actually have someone who is going to come in and talk about it, how to do it, making sure that if you have a lengthy excavation site that you don’t just want to have one test hole that you want to have several.
[15:42] Because if you’ve worked anywhere around underground utilities, you know, those underground utilities do not run in a straight line and they don’t the same depth. So those are some of the things that we’re doing.
[15:52] We’ve got a rule outreach initiative that we’re going to be doing with a Texas Ag Extension along with the Wildfire and then a big homeowner outreach push. There’s lots of stuff going on right now. It is not stagnant for us at all.
James: Cool.: [16:09] Tina, I’m going to go off script. You ready? You scared?
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James: The: [16:17] last couple episodes. I’ve ended with this and I want to ask you something similar and that we we are surrounded we’ve been involved in Texas based events for a long time, Jim and I both.
[16:29] We run across a lot of folks from Texas811 a lot of people in the damage prevention world in general. You have always been very passionate about what you do. So my question is do you love what you do?
Tina: I: [16:46] absolutely love what I do. In fact my kids whenever the kids are asked, you know, so little Johnny, you know, what does your mom and dad do and one, oh, my mom’s a doctor or you know, my mom’s a teacher. My mom saves lives is what my kids say, and proudly say it.
[17:03] Yes, I’m passionate, my kids know I’m passionate. So absolutely.
Jim: You could: [17:08] see it in your face, too.
James: [17:10] For sure.
James: That: [17:23] all I wanted to know. I should’ve asked that first. Then I could have hopped…
Tina: You should have told me you were going to ask it. : [17:24] I could have come up with some…couldn’t be any better than what the truth is. Thank you.
Jim: That: [17:24] was from the heart. That was great. James, any final thoughts from you?
James: No, that all I had. : [17:28] Really, that’s all I came for.
James: : [17:31] I told Tina earlier in the pregame to this call that last event I was at actually was an event that Tina and her group put on with the AXE people as well.
[17:49] Tina actually introduced me on my last speaking engagement in the industry before I mean, it was two weeks later that we went into quarantine. So that seems like a million years ago.
[18:08] Proud to have you on here. Glad to help you give give a place to preach the gospel. I can’t thank you enough.
Tina: Thank: [18:21] you.
Jim: Yeah,: [18:22] Tina. We want to thank we want to thank you for joining us today Tina again everything you shared with us is great information.
[18:29] I hope our listeners learned something today and just take away that one thing call before you dig or send an electronic message before you dig to the call center. Get it, understand where you can and can’t dig.
[18:44] Thank you Tina for doing that. It is a pleasure we can’t wait to see you in person get back to some events. But until then seeing you like this is the next best thing. You’ve brought a smile to this morning. I’ll tell you that much.
Jim: : [18:57] To our audience please connect with Tina do that follow the you know, go to the website, you know, do all the right things become informed educate yourself do all the good things.
[19:10] The most important thing. What do we always say stay safe, right?
Tina: [19:13] Yes. Thank you.
Jim: Anyways,: [19:16] we want to thank everybody for watching today. Have a great day. Stay safe. God bless you and God bless our industry.
[19:22] Until next time, for Coffee with Jim & James, we bid you a farewell.
Tina: Thank: [19:29] y’all.