BC 1 Call is your link to safe digging

A province-wide survey commissioned by BC 1 Call in February 2021 found that only three-in-10 respondents (28 per cent) correctly identified that BC 1 Call connects British Columbians with their members—organizations that own underground infrastructure across B.C.—who then send maps and information to help them dig safely.

April is Safe Digging Awareness Month and historically when more people take on outdoor home improvement projects. Now is an important time to remind them to contact BC 1 Call so projects can proceed safely.

“We need to raise awareness about the importance of contacting BC 1 Call before digging or breaking ground,” said Chris Hyland, BC 1 Call President and CEO. In regards to the survey findings, Hyland said, “what struck me (no pun intended) is that, while we’ve been around for almost 30 years, there’s still a large number of folks in B.C. who don’t know or actually misidentified the service we provide. If more people knew that BC 1 Call helps avoid the risk of personal injury, environmental contamination and disruption of essential services, we could help make B.C. a much safer place.”

The fact that only 28 per cent of respondents were able to identify BC 1 Call’s service correctly caused concern for Ian Turnbull, manager of damage prevention and emergency services at FortisBC. “There may be natural gas and power lines on your property, along with other underground infrastructure that delivers critical services such as telecommunications, water, and sewage,” said Turnbull. “If you dig without calling BC 1 Call and damage a natural gas line, you may cause service and traffic disruptions for you and your neighbours and be financially responsible for the damages.”

Dave Baspaly, Executive Director, BC Common Ground Alliance, noted that with public health orders still in place, health and safety continues to be top-of-mind – so too should personal safety when you’re working outdoors at home. “Over the past year we got really good about picking up new safety habits,” added Baspaly. “Here is another one you can adopt to keep everyone safe: request a free locate ticket with BC 1 Call before you head out to break ground and build that retaining wall, plant trees or put in a new fence this spring. Simply put: just click or call before you dig.”

BC 1 Call urges homeowners and contractors to click or call before they dig to avoid damaging underground infrastructure. Damage and service disruptions can be avoided if everyone requests a free locate ticket with BC 1 Call to determine what utility lines are in their desired dig sites.

Anyone can request a free locate request ticket online 24/7 at bc1c.ca or via phone during regular business hours at 1-800-474-6886. An online request through bc1c.ca allows anyone to input their information more quickly at a time of their convenience.

BC 1 Call currently has over 365 members that are safety-minded public and private-sector owners of underground infrastructure, including its shareholders: FortisBC, Trans Mountain, BC Hydro, TELUS, and Enbridge. Municipalities are represented on the Board of Directors by the Public Works Association of British Columbia. Together, members make this service free of charge for the public.

BC 1 Call

* A locate request to BC 1 Call must be completed a minimum of three business days before the work begins, to allow members enough time to provide the necessary information to homeowners and contractors.

* Both BC 1 Call’s service and the information sent by members are 100 per cent free of charge.

* When someone requests a locate ticket by clicking or calling BC 1 Call, it triggers a notification to the utility owners to share drawings and information on what’s below the surface in the described dig area.

* Excavators are not clear to dig until all utilities they are told to expect to hear from have responded.

* From inception through to December 31, 2020, BC 1 Call has registered about 40,000 individual homeowners who use its locate service.

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