Fresno: Construction Management Students Learn How a Phone Call Can Save a Life

FRESNO — This week, students in Fresno State’s construction management program learned how a phone call to 811 can save a life for anyone planning a project that requires digging.

The students were instructed how the free service works but most important the dangers of not making the call.

Anyone planning a digging project should know what’s underground. The answer is to call 811 first.

“Take the minute to double and triple check because it can save someone’s life,” Fresno gas utility worker Rodrigo Marquez said of the estimated four minutes it takes to make the call and report the project.

Marquez and Fresno gas supervisor Pheng Ly led the safety presentation on Thursday (Oct. 1) as part of PG&E’s series of multicultural workshops on the importance of calling 811. They explained how utility lines are marked using colored flags, paint or both to mark service lines.

Students also learned what to do in case of downed wires or how to report a possible gas leak. They were urged to move to a safe location, call 911 and then PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

“One of the key messages we hope you take with you is that there are steps you can take to mitigate the potential risks,” Ly said. “Use them and start by calling 811.”

About half of the 35 students knew of the 811 service prior to attending the workshop but by the end all were aware of the importance of making the call prior to starting a digging project. They’re an ideal audience since they hope to one day begin a career in construction and may oversee digging projects.

“The most important thing I learned was how easy something can go wrong,” said student Brian Llamas. “It was a good workshop, very informational.”

Additional 811 workshops are being planned throughout PG&E’s service area targeting day laborers, farm workers, and students to educate them about this important and free service.

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