One Call is a free service in BC and Alberta that keeps you and your community safe. Every time you dig in the ground, there's a risk you could hit a water or sewer line, a gas or oil pipeline, or an electricity or telecommunications line. Owners of those infrastructure systems are the members and funders of the One Call service.

When you call or click before you dig, you’re connected to an operator in the Customer Care Centre who will take down your details, such as the location of your worksite and the kind of excavation work you’re planning.

The operator checks your information against One Call’s province-wide mapping system, which will identify underground facilities that may be on and around your proposed job site. The operator creates a ‘ticket’ based on your information and distributes it to One Call members who own infrastructure on or around the site of your project.

Members match your project details against maps of their infrastructure. They will connect with you within three days to let you know if you’re in the vicinity of their facilities. They may provide a site plan showing the exact location of their facilities, or dispatch a technician to your worksite to mark out their location.

You can redirect your work to avoid digging in the vicinity of infrastructure, or you may be advised to implement safe digging procedures such as using a hand shovel to expose buried facilities before using any mechanical equipment.

If you prefer, you can also use One Call’s online system in BC or Alberta to log in your project information and create an ‘E-Ticket’ request to locate potential facilities.

How effective is One Call? Consider this: Each year in BC, people who fail to call before starting an excavation are responsible for three out of four accidental hits on underground infrastructure. In most other cases, an accidental hit occurs after someone connected first with BC One Call — but failed to exercise proper caution as advised.

Chart from the BC Common Ground Alliance 2014 DIRT Report. It shows that in 74 per cent of reported damage events in 2013, BC One Call was not contacted before digging began.