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FortisBC reminding residents, contractors to dial or click before digging

Dial or click before you dig.

With April being safe digging month, it’s a good reminder regarding underground gas lines and to find out where they are before breaking out shovels or backhoes.

According to FortisBC, damage to its buried gas lines dropped in 2023 as more residents or contractors dialed or clicked BC 1 Call before digging.

“Knowing the location of underground gas lines reduces the risk of personal injury, avoids interrupting essential services and prevents costly repairs,” said Fortis.

However, it added that nearly 70 per cent of damaged gas lines were done by people who didn’t contact BC 1 Call.

Of the remaining 30 per cent, Fortis says most did not use the provided information correctly or did not dig by hand first.

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Last year, Fortis says there were 844 instances of damage to underground gas lines.

Metro Vancouver had the highest percentage of line strikes at 327 (38.7 per cent) followed by the Southern Interior (Thompson-Okanagan) at 183 (21.6 per cent). Vancouver Island was third at 132 (15.6 per cent).

Cities with the highest gas-line strikes were:

  • Surrey (64; 7.5 per cent)
  • Vancouver (58; 6.8 per cent)
  • Kelowna (41 (4.8 per cent)
  • Burnaby (38 (4.5 per cent)
  • North Vancouver (33; 3.9 per cent)

“It is very promising to see our damage incidents decreasing by about 10 per cent year over year since 2020,” said Tanya Kowalenko of FortisBC, adding that 90 per cent of gas-line damage is preventable.

“We commend British Columbians for all the work being done to educate and mandate safe digging practices.”

FortisBC says that BC 1 Call received more than 229,000 requests in 2023, with 83 per cent coming from its online platform.

Contractors were the most at 66 per cent, followed by member employees at 25 per cent and homeowners at 9 per cent.

“Contacting BC 1 Call before digging isn’t just a regulatory requirement — it’s a critical step in safeguarding lives,” Suzana Prpic of WorkSafeBC said.

“Hitting utility lines underground poses significant risks to workers’ well-being and threatens community infrastructure and public safety. But it is also 100 per cent preventable.”

BC 1 Call is free (1-800-474-6886) and is available online.

BC 1 Call president and CEO Chris Hyland, says while call numbers are climbing each year, “there are many contractors, landscapers and homeowners who still aren’t aware of safe digging practices, which is why we are continuing to see damage.”

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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