Myrtle Beach hosts conference promoting safe digging practices, damage prevention

Updated: May. 1, 2019 at 3:39 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A conference centered around promoting safe digging practices and damage prevention will in Myrtle Beach for the next three days.

This is the first year the city is hosting the Joint Carolinas Conference and organizers said a solid reason why is because of all the construction and growth happening in the area.

Just recently, the U.S. Census Bureau ranked Myrtle Beach the second-fastest growing metropolitan area in the country. But with construction, also comes some dangers.

In South Carolina, no matter the size of the digging project, whether it’s as simple as planting a tree, constructing a swimming pool or a major building, officials want to remind you to always call 811, at least three days before you dig.

Calling that number could save residents money and even their life.

The national hotline’s purpose is to let the proper agencies know when you want to start a project and to find out if there are underground utility lines where you want to dig. Those companies will then send experts to your home and help you find the spots where a line may be buried, such as power lines, water and gas pipes.

South Carolina 811 officials said 99% of damages are avoided by making the call and the center is slated to hit over one million calls by later this year.

“One thing that we try to target is when we know those big projects are coming into the state. We try to make sure we’re spending a little extra time there just because we know there’s more construction going on, more projects coming in, people are moving in, new homeowners that maybe don’t know the law, maybe don’t understand that you have to call before you’re digging, stuff like that. So, just any time we see big projects or big developments coming in, we try as much as we can to get in front of it and educate and be more proactive versus reactive,” said Kaziah Howard, Director of Public Awareness for SC811.

Organizers said the purpose of this conference is to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to collaborate, come up with solutions, find more ways to educate people and keep you safe.

With the growth in South Carolina, specifically Myrtle Beach, officials want to make sure everyone’s safety is paramount. That’s why conference organizers chose to bring the event to Myrtle Beach this year.

“So, the big thing for homeowners is knowing that a lot of the things we do at this conference are with efficiency and making everyone safe. There are so many projects within the state of South Carolina and North Carolina, which is good, growth is good. But with growth, there’s dangers and things that come with that so, the more we do at this conference when it comes to collaboration, the better that we can do. Hitting lines can be catastrophic... It doesn’t hurt you to call us, it doesn’t cost anything,” said Howard.

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