SULPHUR — Emergency responders, oil and gas workers, and municipal personnel got to experience the consequences of a ruptured gas line during a damage awareness and public safety event on Wednesday morning.
“We’re doing a community event to educate the public of the importance of calling 811 before you dig,” Angie Niemeyer, business services manager with Okie811, said. “This helps people understand what can happen if you don’t call before you dig. It’s really informative, not only for the event itself, but for the damage that happens after the event as well.”
Okie811 is a non-profit 501(c)6 corporation that focuses on underground damage prevention. The service is free of charge and helps prevent dangerous and costly accidents by sending in a ticket to every underground facility operator that has services in the area of any proposed digging site. The facility operator will then send out a locator to the excavation site to mark the location of any underground facilities.
After a brief safety course attendees watched two live demonstrations. The first showed excavators performing all of the correct steps and having a safe dig. The second showed the dangers of cutting corners. In that scenario, a gas line was ruptured, a worker suffered an injury, and emergency personnell had to evacuate the injured party.
While in the demonstration the “injured party” was safely evacuated and the damage was minimal, a real life emergency situation could potentially cause massive damage, injuries, and evacuations. It’s always best to call 811, follow the proper steps, and avoid a possibly dangerous—and costly—situation.