Kamloops among the safest diggers in the province: FortisBC

FortisBC is applauding Kamloops residents and businesses for doing their part when it comes to safe digging.

Ian Turnbull, the company's damage prevention and emergency services manager, says he's seen a decrease of gas line damages in the Tournament Capital of more than 65 per cent in the last 10 years.

A decade ago, FortisBC was seeing around 65 to 70 incidents a year. Now, that number is around 20 to 22. 

"They've cut it by two-thirds, which is really good," says Turnbull. "In a sense, (Kamloops) went from number one damager to number one avoider of damage."

He attributes the decrease to FortisBC's awareness campaigns.

"In communities all around the province, we spend a lot of time and effort in the last 10 years to do sessions where we talk about the importance of not hitting any of the underground infrastructure. We've done a couple of these workshops in Kamloops over the years," says Turnbull. "It's one of these things, the more people hear the message and think about it as it relates to their day-to-day work, they'll start to do things like call BC One Call every time they put a shovel in the ground."

BC One Call is the first step before any digging project can start, he adds. DIYers call the number (1-800-474-6886) and the person on the other line will let them know where the gas and utility lines are buried. There's no cost to call.

Turnbull says many of the people who end up hitting a gas line are ones who didn't pick up the phone.

"The scary thing is, they hit our line, but it could have been an underground hydro line, it could have been a sewer line, it could have been a fibre optics cable. They had no idea, they were just digging."

As for who foots the bill if there's damage? It's not FortisBC. 

"At the minimum, we'll send them a repair bill, so if it costs us $500 to fix the damage, you'll get a bill for $500. If it costs $10,000, you'll get a bill for $10,000."

For more information, click HERE.

BC One Call - Click Before You Dig! from Rhidian Gatrill on Vimeo.

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