Power outage safety tips

Unexpected wildfires can spread rapidly and potentially threaten power lines

Many British Columbians are on high alert this week as wildfires burn in the north and central regions of the province.

As wildfires can spread rapidly and potentially threaten power lines, it’s important that you know, in advance, how to help your family cope with a power outage:

* Do not barbecue indoors. Charcoal and gas barbecues, as well as camping equipment, release carbon monoxide, an odourless and colourless gas. It can be a silent killer if allowed to build up in enclosed areas.

* For the same reason, if you use a generator, make sure it’s outside.

* Avoid using candles as they can be a fire hazard. If used, always extinguish candles when leaving a room and be sure the candle-holder is on a stable surface.

* Turn on your portable radio for instructions and news reports to ensure you’re able to cooperate with instructions from public safety officials.

* To stay connected longer, run as few apps on your phone as possible, turn down the screen brightness to conserve your mobile phone’s battery.

* Make a list of emergency contacts, including 1 888 POWERON (1 888 769-3766) to report a power outage.

* Unplug non-critical electronic devices to avoid damage due to a power surge when the power returns. Alternately, use a power protection surge bar approved by the Canadian Standards Association.

* If you encounter a downed power line, stay at least 10 metres away and call BC Hydro immediately. If your vehicle makes contact with an energized line, stay inside the vehicle until help arrives. An essential part of surviving a power outage involves having an emergency kit that will support your entire family for at least 72 hours.

Include these supplies in your kit:

* A battery operated flashlight

* Extra batteries

* Bottled water- two litres of water per person per day

* Battery or crank operated clock and radio

* Non-perishable foods

* Medication or other special needs items

* First aid kit

* Warm clothing and blankets

* Games and books to keep everyone busy

For up-to-date information, evacuation orders and public safety notices, visit: www.EmergencyInfoBC.gov.bc.ca