With the Fourth of July bearing down on us, it’s a good time to examine history. Not the 1776 kind of history, though. The history of damage prevention. (Though, of course, everything we hold dear today is routed directly through 1776.)
As the 1800’s came to a close, we must have thought we had made it over the moon. The telephone existed, as did the electric light, though judging by this illustration the light took some getting used to.
(Photo by Frank Schulenburg)
The phonograph also existed, and in Dayton, Ohio, two brothers named Wright were tinkering with a machine they said could fly.
In the meantime, in the large cities of America, the space underground was filling up rapidly. Water lines, gas lines, rudimentary electric lines, telegraph and telephone lines, and sewer pipes were all jostling for space, in many locations one on top of the other.
As the 20thcentury progressed, the underground infrastructure began to rival the above-ground infrastructure, and accidental hits on buried lines became more commonplace and also deadly.
With the serious nature of having no roadmap to the underground becoming apparent, the first locate request notification centers came into existence in the 1960’s.
These early centers were a great improvement over an excavator having to personally call each utility in their dig area to get lines marked. As the call center concept took root, more and more utility providers saw the value in joining.
Texas811, incorporated in January of 1984 as Texas Excavation Safety System (TESS) had 45 members by 1988 and was taking a whopping 12,595 incoming requests a year. Today, the non-profit has over 1700 members, and an average DAY results in between 11,000 and 13,000 incoming locate requests.
Your Damage Prevention Managers (DPMs) are the point of the spear for this behemoth. Covering the 23 Damage Prevention Councils of Texas, your DPMs are available to speak, answer questions, provide insight – whatever you need. Additionally, they hold meetings in their area’s Damage Prevention Councils. (The list of upcoming meets is here)
An incredibly popular event is the Mock Line Strike. Three are scheduled in July: Georgetown, July 12, Paris, July 17, and Lufkin, July 19. More information is here.
And EVERY BIT OF IT IS FREE. Just like the locate request to 811 and the subsequent locating service.
So, enjoy the Fourth of July holiday. Play it safe. And when you’re back on the job, come see us or ask us to come see you.
Until next week, safe digging!