THE SOURCE - Summer 2016 - (Page 25)

the pipeline 10 Years of Public Awareness Effectiveness Assessments By John erickson 2 015 marked the 10th year in which more than 170 gas utilities have relied on the APGA Gas Overall Awareness Level (GOAL) program to assess the effectiveness of their efforts to educate both customers and the general public about natural gas safety. safety messages include how to recognize a natural gas leak both inside and outside of a home, what to do if one suspects a natural gas leak and the importance of calling 811 to have underground utilities marked prior to digging. The APGA GOAL program uses an automated calling system to survey a statistical sample of both customers and non-customers living near distribution lines about their knowledge of these messages. The number of surveys conducted is determined by statisticians to ensure at least a 95 percent confidence level in the results. 95 percent is a higher standard than what federal regulators require to measure the effectiveness and safety of new drugs. GOAL users receive a report on how customers and non-customers answered each question as well as a summary of all GOAL users for comparison. even though federal regulations did not require utilities to conduct the first effectiveness assessments until 2010- four years after new public awareness requirements were put into effect in 2006-many APGA members wanted to start surveying in 2006 to establish the level of safety awareness that existed before the new public awareness programs began. Thus, APGA conducted the first surveys in 2006. The results indicated a high level of public knowledge about gas safety existed even before the new public awareness requirements began-testimony to the effectiveness of utilities' longstanding educational efforts. some of the results from that 2006 survey are: * 196,786 surveys were conducted; * 79 percent of respondents said that they could recognize the smell of natural gas-or more correctly, the odorant; * 86 percent of respondents were aware that they should call the onecall center to have utilities marked before digging; * 97 percent of respondents knew that, if they smelled gas or for other reasons suspected a gas leak in their home, they should leave the home and call the utility from outside or from a neighbor's home; and, * 97 percent of respondents felt they received adequate safety information from their gas utility. These high levels of safety awareness show that the safety education programs of at least these 170 utilities were effective even before the new public awareness regulations went The results indicated a high level of public knowledge about gas safety existed even before the new public awareness requirements began-testimony to the effectiveness of utilities' longstanding educational efforts. into effect. In fact, looking back at the Pipeline and Hazardous materials safety Administration's (PHmsA) June 24, 2004 Notice of Proposed rulemaking, all of the incidents PHmsA cited as demonstrating the need for better public awareness involved people living near natural gas or hazardous liquid transmission pipelines, not distribution piping. It makes sense that most people living in urban areas are aware that there are buried gas, electric, water, sewer, cable TV, telephone and other underground infrastructure required to provide service to the people living in the neighborhood. residents don't necessarily expect, however, to have a gasoline, crude oil or high pressure natural gas transmission line running through their neighborhood, so operators of these pipelines have a much greater public awareness challenge than do local distribution utilities. In fact, the 2006 survey found that even respondents who did not have gas in their homes knew what gas smelled like, possibly from smelling gas in neighbors' homes, from scratch and sniff cards, and/or from programs continued on page 26 THE SOURCE | SUmmER 2016, vOl. 8, ISSUE 4 25 »

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of THE SOURCE - Summer 2016

First Person
APGA Events
Expanding Your Network Through the Virtual Pipeline
Major Mergers
Q&A: Barry Russell
The Very Different Field of Commercial Foodservice Research and Development
Can Natural Gas Stay Cheap Forever This Time?
Home Fueling for Natural Gas Vehicles
Legislative Outlook
The Pipeline
Marketing Matters
Advertisers’ Index/ Advertiser.com
At Last

THE SOURCE - Summer 2016

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