Safety in Emergencies: Be Prepared

Power outages

During a power outage, you may be left without heating, lighting or hot water. You can reduce the effect of a power outage by taking the time to prepare in advance.

What to do during a power outage:

  • Outages updates: When your lights go out, check to see whether we're already aware of the outage by visiting our power outages updates page. If your outage isn't listed, report it to us by calling 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) or 604 224 9376 on your mobile phone.
  • Safety first: Never go near or touch a fallen power line. Always assume that a line or anything that it is in contact with is energized. Stay at least 10 metres (33 feet, about the length of a bus) away at all times and do not attempt to remove debris surrounding the line. If you see a fallen power line, report the exact location to 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) or 604 224 9376.
  • Portable generator safety: Home generators can be useful during an extended power outage but they can also be very dangerous if they are not used properly. Always follow all manufacturers' instructions and contact a qualified electrician or electrical inspector if you have questions. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never use a portable generator, outdoor or charcoal barbecues indoors, including inside a garage or other enclosed or partially enclosed area. Never operate portable camping stoves or lamps indoors or in enclosed areas such as garages or carports. If you start to feel dizzy, nausea, a headache or tired while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.

Earthquakes, wildfires and floods

Wildfires

Our crews work closely with local and provincial emergency authorities in the event of wildfire. For updates on the status of wildfires, fire danger ratings and fire bans, visit the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch:

In the event of wildfire, stay away from and do not touch BC Hydro infrastructure (lines, poles, towers, hydro boxes, etc.). Assume that these may be energized and may cause harm.

Floods

Water and live electrical wires can be a lethal combination. While floods are common in B.C., you can take steps to ensure the safety of your family.

If flooding is expected:

  • Turn off the main power supply to the building.
  • Have a BCSA licensed gas contractor remove hot water tanks, clothes dryers, and stoves, and cap the gas pipe leading to the appliance shut-off valve.
  • Move portable electrical items to somewhere not at risk of flooding.

If flooding occurs:

  • Turn off the main power supply to the building if possible.
  • Don't attempt to use any gas or electric appliances.
  • Don't enter any area of the building that has been flooded.
  • Leave the building immediately.

If you must evacuate:

  • Turn off the electrical main power switch only if the building is dry.
  • If the building is already flooded, don't attempt to turn off the main power switch.Don't enter flooded basements or buildings that may have energized wires or appliances.
  • Don't touch damp walls.
  • If you're boating in a flooded area, avoid power lines. Don't travel by boat at night, as you'll be unable to see power lines.

Get more information on flooding from Emergency Management BC

Earthquakes

The threat of an earthquake is constant in parts of British Columbia. We experience thousands of minor earthquakes every year.

During an earthquake:

  • Stay calm and take action to protect you and your family.
  • Practice the 'Drop, Cover, and Hold On' technique that will best protect you in the event of an earthquake.
  • Take shelter underneath a heavy table or desk, tuck head to knees and cover head
  • Stay away from objects that may fall
  • Keep well away from glass (it may shatter)
  • Stay in your location for 30 seconds. Expect and prepare for aftershocks.

Following the earthquake:

  • Check yourself for injuries & help others.
  • Assess your situation and implement your Family Emergency Plan.
  • To determine if it is safe to stay in your home with respect to electrical and gas safety, you should have a licensed BCSA contractor perform a hazard assessment.
  • Leave your home if you believe there is immediate danger.
  • Follow guidelines for evacuation if you need to leave.

Outside and in your vehicle

Stay away and do not touch BC Hydro infrastructure (lines, poles, towers, hydro boxes, etc.). Assume that these may be energized and may cause harm.

Get more information on earthquakes and earthquake preparedness: Emergency Management BC.