My Story - How 811 Damage Prevention became my calling!

How 811 Damage Prevention became my calling

 

If you would have asked me 15 years ago what I wanted to do and was working towards, Damage Prevention would have been the last thing I would have said.  I was studying constitutional law and theatre at a small private university in Indiana.  I had a 5 year plan that would take me through law school. However, life took a few surprise turns changing the carefully made plans over the following 4 years.  

 

Damage Prevention blog post

 

In February 2010, I started working for Underground Safety Alliance, the umbrella organization for Indiana811 and Kentucky811 as a Damage Prevention Specialist, taking one call tickets for homeowners and excavators.  At first it was just a “job” to make ends meet while I figured out what I wanted as a career.  Although I took every call seriously, my heart wasn’t in it. 

 

Change comes with a ring

Then I took a call that changed my life.  I had been at the call center for about a year.  “Thank you for calling 811. My name is Kristin, how may I help you?”

 

“We were digging and we hit a gas line,” said a terrified voice on the other end of the line. 

 

Processing a damage ticket wasn’t new, I had helped report numerous damages in that first year. Except the voice on the other side was scared and unsure, and there was an odd whooshing noise. This was not going to be a typical damage reporting call.    

 

It was two homeowners who had just hit a line, and were standing within feet of the blowing gas. At once I realized what the background noise was, even though I had never heard it before.  Immediately, I instructed them to move slowly away from the gas line, at least 100 feet.  The last thing these frightened people needed was a random spark igniting the gas filled air.  

 

After they were far enough away, I needed to calm them so we could continue and make not only them, but their neighborhood safe. The panicked edge in their voice took a couple of moments to reduce, but the moment it did, I asked if the homeowners had called 911.  Unfortunately they had not, so that was our first task to accomplish.  After having them confirm again that they were a safe distance away, the one person stayed on the phone with me while the other used their phone to contact the fire department.  

 

By this point the initial panic from both of the homeowners had receded. While one talked to emergency services and then the gas utility, the other one and I were able to complete the Damage Ticket. It has been a long time since that call, and while I don't remember if they had called to have the line marked before they started digging, that call stayed with me. It was the catalyst for my dedication to damage prevention. 

 

Damage Prevention-my passion!

 

Since that call I have been passionate about Damage Prevention. I threw my whole self into every phone call and resulting locate request.  I wanted to protect others from injury due to unsafe digging.  I learned everything I could about the 811 process. 

It wasn’t long until my superiors and others took notice of the dedication developing within me and I was given more opportunities to learn about damage prevention, advancing from taking tickets to working directly with the member utilities, learning every step of the way. Once I started working with the utilities is where I really found my stride.

 

I love helping utilities protect their facilities and keep job sites safe. Without those markings on the ground anyone who disturbs the dirt could get hurt, and I wanted to be a part of a solution that helps utilities get their locating accomplished.  That is how I ended up here at BOSS Solutions.  Now I am able to help provide support for the utilities to manage their one call tickets.  

  

I still adore learning more about damage prevention, and incorporating what I am learning into our BOSS811 solution.  I am committed to our customers and how we can partner together to minimize damages.  

 

Now if someone asks me what my calling is, the answer is easy: Damage Prevention!


 

BOSS Solutions is a proud partner in Damage Prevention

Demo Video BOSS811  Jan 2019

Watch our Short Video

 

About the Author:

Kristin Reed is a Senior Support Engineer with BOSS Solutions. Kristin has been part of the Damage Prevention Industry for 11 years. She is committed to helping utilities and locators protect their facilities and keeping excavators safe at the dig site.

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Did you know? Hitting an underground utility line can cause severe damage and result in fines for non compliance

 

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BOSS Solutions offers an easy and affordable damage prevention solution BOSS811 that helps you stay compliant and avoid hefty fines. Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County adapted  BOSS811 , a Cloud based One Call Ticket Management Solution for the Damage Prevention Industry to improve efficiency and stay compliant.

The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (MAWC) is the largest public water provider in the State of Pennsylvania, with 2400 miles of water lines, 500 miles of wastewater lines, 3 Water Treatment Plants and 10 Wastewater Treatment Plants. The legacy 811 Ticket Management System used by MAWC could only be installed on the locator laptops, had no routing rules or automation and therefore provided a very limited role in their critical operations. MAWC wanted a ticket management solution that would improve efficiency and ensure compliance with the regulations of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission who were imposing fines on utility owners for noncompliance. MAWC did a thorough search and selected BOSS811 as their replacement Ticket Management Solution. The BOSS811 implementation was very successful with over 9000 tickets closed in the first 6 months of operation. BOSS811 dramatically improved and simplified workflows through automation and event logs, eliminated bottlenecks and allowed for retraining. BOSS was able to import data and attachments from the legacy 811 system making it part of the BOSS811 searchable repository that is instantly viewable by management.

“BOSS811 has set the bar that other software is compared to." Anthony Pologruto - GIS Analyst, Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, PA

View the BOSS811 webinar with Anthony and learn how MAWC improved efficiency and avoided fines

 

Major BOSS811 Features & Capabilities used by MAWC:

 Ability to load map services directly from the GIS Server which eliminates the need for paper maps and the “dig box” can be accurately located on the screen  Powerful Routing Engine with the ability to assign tickets based on ticket info or type, tag tickets, send desktop notifications, and assign based on dates and times  The ability to Auto Close tickets  Customized dashboard for each user with pre-defined or custom Widgets 

 Charting and reporting provide management with the capability to monitor workloads and performance  Ticket management with both list and map views provides for easy assignment, sorting and response  Advanced search with a very granular capability and the ability to export to CSV spreadsheets  The ability to add attachments to tickets including photos and videos that can be geo-tagged to show where they were taken  Ease of configuration due to intuitive design of Settings screen  Email notifications based on routing rules  The ability to easily create users and set roles and permissions  Mobile App for both iOS and Android with offline support in areas with no cell signal.  Sketching tools that provide the ability to add notation and comments to the uploaded photos.

Visit www.boss-solutions.com to learn more about BOSS811

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How the City of San Jose saved a million and more!

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The City of San Jose is an economic, cultural, and political center of Silicon Valley and the largest city in Northern California. With an estimated 2017 population of 1,035,317, it is the third most populous city in California and the tenth most populous in United States.

The City of San Jose joined the One Call ticket management center, USA North in 1989 when the underground service alert law became mandatory. The City needed to replace an antiquated 21 year old computer based One Call ticket Management system for Damage Prevention with a modern solution that could better manage their ever increasing demand of service from underground marker and locate crews while providing customized management information to track time, funding sources and ensure compliance with regulations.  

After comparing several available solutions in the market and doing their due diligence, the City chose BOSS811 for its one call ticket management. BOSS811 helped position the City to be more efficient and in compliance with regulations. The powerful workflow capabilities of BOSS811 and features like auto close resulted in reduced labor costs, increased compliance, a better user experience, and improved morale. The customized reporting reduced staff hours and the implementation of GEO Location mapping instead of printed map books resulted in significant cost savings.

Brent Erkel - Construction Manager with the City of San Jose is extremely pleased with the move to BOSS811. In his words,“BOSS811 it's been an absolute incredible fit and resulted in significant cost and time savings. Everybody that's dealt with BOSS has just been floored with how easy BOSS has been to deal with and what good customer service they have so much so BOSS has raised the bar for our other vendors"

View Brent's webinar on Driving Compliance with One Call Ticket Management to learn how they saved millions by implementing BOSS811.

The City of San Jose is required to provide locate and marking services for many underground facilities including traffic signals, street lighting, communications, recycled water lines, portable water lines, irrigation, pressurized storm, and sanitary sewers. In 2017 the City processed over 57,000 tickets and projected demand continued to show significant increases. The City was looking to replace its antiquated system with a modern and user friendly solution and BOSS811 exceeded its expectations with the its modern, easy to navigate UI and powerful features.

Following the implementation of BOSS811 the City saved over a Million dollars and benefited significantly due to:

 The process reductions and efficiency Improvements in the workflow for new/remark tickets resulted in a saving of 4 minutes per ticket

 The ability to Auto Close no-remark/extension tickets resulted in a saving of 1.25 minutes per ticket

 The ability to standardize on documentation through drop-down menus and toggle boxes combined with the ability to create custom screens to track funding sources, and track time saved significant amount of staff hours

 Implementation of GEO Location mapping instead of using printed systems map books saved significant dollars.

 Other benefits include data reliability, the ability to balance and redistribute the work of locate staff, improved morale and increased compliance with regulations.

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The Birth of BOSS811

Forsyth County, with the help of BOSS Solutions, has implemented a cloud based 811 ticketing solution BOSS811 to replace a costly web-based service for managing utility service marking/location requests.

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The state of Georgia has a central service where citizens can call 811 to have utility services lines marked before doing any construction or digging. The state office determines the local agencies responsible for providing those utility services and notifies that local agency about the utility marking request.

Forsyth County used a web-based vendor to track these service requests and to transmit status updates back to the state agency. The county paid the vendor for each service request posted on the vendor’s website, and there are 100-200 service requests each week. This web-based service was very limited, had no reporting functions and had no workflow to monitor/manage service requests.

BOSS Solutions worked closely with Forsyth County to replace the existing service request listing website with web services to receive an XML data feed from the Georgia state agency and turn that into Support Central tickets. Forsyth County water utility service crews use Support Central in the field to manage service requests. They have dashboard reports to list any emergency service requests and to show service requests inestimated completion date order. When service requests are completed, the Support Central web services transmit updates back to the Georgia state agency. We call the new BOSS Solutions application “BOSS811”.

The new BOSS811 service provides all of the functionality of the website listingservice and more. Support Central has workflow to monitor ticket status and escalate unassigned tickets. Timesheets can be used to track the time spent on each service request. Service crew workload can be tracked as tickets are assigned to crew members.

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