Having trained 1000’s of UST operators over the last 12 years, I’ve noticed a pattern how an entire state deals with meeting a UST operator training deadline. This first happened when I led the nation’s first Class A/B course in Oregon in 2003. And Nebraska is another classic example of this start-to-end cycle today in 2015. Here’s what happens.
- The UST rules get published, along with the deadline reminder; some outreach efforts land in operator’s mailboxes.
- We then get rush of calls and emails from those I call the “early adopters”. They break the ice and get trained right away. The rest of course wait till the last minute.
- Another batch of reminders go out and operators start talking among themselves. Training picks up a bit. Certificates start generating.
- Lengthy time of inactivity.
- Suddenly the deadline is looming (in Nebraska case, New Year’s Eve, 2015) and the calls to us become more frantic.
- Most folks train within the last 30-45 days of the deadline. Confusion reigns.
- Deadline comes and goes. Stragglers get flushed out, cited, trained, and remedied.
We’ve been tracking online calls, sales and certificates and something interesting is occurring in Nebraska: Word is getting out about our Class A/B course. Whereas nearly 100% of our first customers first learned about us through the State Fire Marshal Web page, almost a third of our customers now hear about us by word of mouth. We can only deduct that folks talk and like us enough to pass along a good word for us. So thanks to all who help spread the word.
Another interesting thing to report is how much UST operators knew before they took the training. About a quarter of the operators said the information was mostly new them; a little over half said it was somewhat new to them; and a little less than a quarter said it was either “old hat” or stuff they mostly knew. This tells us perhaps many folks know the basics and hopefully training will fill in the gaps that would otherwise translate into violations. We assume the quarter that said it was all new to them are at UST sites with no functioning “go-to” person for UST compliance. We hope to see the most improvement here but time will tell.