Each year, representatives from OHIO811 and their member utilities participate in dozens of trade shows and community events across the state of Ohio. They interact with thousands of contractors and excavators, vendors, homeowners, farmers and students distributing literature, color-coded cards for locating utility lines and branded merchandise promoting OHIO811 and their “Call 811 before you dig” message.
They inevitably encounter the challenge of engaging attendees for a long enough period of time to share the consequences of unintentional damage to underground facilities, including the potential for severe bodily injury, property, environmental and infrastructure damage, and disruption of critical utility services.
The new OHIO811 trailer is a mobile classroom, attracting and retaining visitors of all ages with a unique interactive educational experience. Walking through the trailer, guests are enveloped by three-dimensional displays on the walls and under their feet, showcasing the maze of pipelines, cables, wires, conduits, and other types of utility infrastructure commonly found under the yard of a residential home. Videos promote the OHIO811 process for requesting utility locations, and a multi-sensory dig box simulates the hidden dangers posed by damaged facilities.
Additional interactive displays of the OHIO811 mobile app and damaged facilities, as well as 30-90 second videos for the trailer’s indoor and external monitors, are in development to accompany the OHIO811 trailer.
This project began as the vision of an OHIO811 member. She wanted to create an interactive educational experience to further the 811 and safe digging messages. Since there is not a large market for customized educational trailers, finding a company to make that vision a reality was a challenge. After several attempts to find the right vendor, we ultimately discovered Rocks Trailer out of Grove City, Ohio. They were very interested in the challenge of creating something that no one in Ohio had done before. The trailer was built by ATC Trailers out of Nappanee, Indiana and then sent to Rocks Trailer for interior customization. Once that phase was completed, the trailer came to North Jackson for the interior viewing boxes, external interactive dig box, and exterior and interior wraps for both the pull vehicle and trailer.
In addition to the trailer exceeding our expectations, the project was fully funded with sponsorship dollars from Vectren, A Centerpoint Energy Company; Marathon Pipeline; First Energy, which included Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison and Cleveland Electric Illuminating; and Columbia Gas of Ohio. Our pull vehicle was a donation by USIC. Without this level of support from our membership, this unique educational experience would never have come to fruition. The next phase of this project is to acquire yearly sponsorships to cover annual operating costs, including transportation, new and additional interactive displays and videos, promotional giveaways and trailer maintenance.
For more information on the process of building the trailer or operational sponsorships, please contact Lee Richards, Director, Educational Programs at 800-311-3692 x 7249 or LeeR@OUPS.org.