The recent windstorm that left thousands of British Columbians without power is a stark reminder of the need to prepareyourself, your family and your home for power outages. Bowen was relatively lucky in this last storm, considering some homes on Salt Spring Island were without power for nine days!
Are you prepared to stay in your home without power for multiple days?
Prepare your home:
Regularly clean your chimney if you have a wood burning fireplace
Consider purchasing a secondary power source (e.g. generator, solar panels and battery.)
Consider installing non-electric appliances when possible (e.g. stoves, heaters, ovens, etc.)
Keep flashlights and candles in easy to find places; ensure batteries are charged and spares are available.
Protect sensitive electrical appliances such as TVs and computers with surge-protecting power bars.
Keep a small bag of ice cubes in your freezer – if you find it has melted and refrozen, there is a good chance your food has spoiled. When in doubt, throw it out!
During a power outage:
Report the outage to BC Hydro and stay at least 10 metres away from any downed power lines. Assume all power lines are live.
Turn off all tools, appliances and electronics, and turn thermostats down
Do not open your freezer or fridge unless necessary – a full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 to 36 hours if the door stays closed.
Never use charcoal or gas BBQs, camping heating equipment, home generators or other carbon monoxide producing devices indoors
Use candle holders, keep candles out of reach of children and don’t leave lit candles unattended. Extinguish candles before going to bed.
Listen to battery-powered or hand-crank radio for information if standard methods of communication are unavailable.
Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector, with battery back up if hardwired into your electrical system.
In the event of an extended power outage, the municipality will attempt to open a warming centre during the day, where affected residents can go to get warm, heat food and charge electronics. In the event of an extended island-wide power outage, this warming centre is likely to be at municipal hall or one of the fire halls, which all have backup generators.