When the wind howls, trees can come down and may bring power lines with them. (Black Press Media file photo)

When the wind howls, trees can come down and may bring power lines with them. (Black Press Media file photo)

Storms prompt downed power line warning from BC Hydro

‘Stay back 10 metres and dial 911,’ in event of damaged electrical lines, poles

After several days of strong winds and heavy rain across the Island, BC Hydro reminds residents to take precautions around downed power lines and damaged hydro poles.

On Tuesday morning, Environment Canada issued its latest wind warnings for coastal areas of Vancouver Island and advised the strong, damaging winds expected throughout the day “may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break.”

Multiple municipalities across the Island were without power by 9 a.m. and BC Hydro took to social media to remind followers that as strong winds gust, branches and trees may knock down power lines.

“If you see a downed or damaged power line or pole, it’s an emergency,” the power company wrote on Twitter. “Stay back 10 metres and dial 911.”

During a windstorm in January, BC Hydro community relations manager Ted Olynyk shared a similar message for those who come across a downed or damaged power line – “down, danger, dial.”

Always treat the line as though it’s still energized and call emergency crews even if the situation doesn’t seem dangerous because it’s better to be safe and let experts secure the area, Olynyk said at the time.

He added that an electrical line doesn’t have to be completely knocked down to require a 911 call; whether a tree has fallen on a line, a cross-arm is broken, a power pole is leaningor a line is dangling, there is a public safety risk.

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Anyone who finds themselves less than 10 metres away from a downed line should shuffle, not walk, away with both feet on the ground at all times to reduce the risk of electrocution, Olynyk said.

BC Hydro asks that everyone be on alert during the stormy months as strong winds occur most often in the fall and winter and can cause debris damage to electrical infrastructure. For more tips and safety recommendations, visit bchydro.com.

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