lightbulb, hydro, electricity, light, bulb
lBC Hydro reminds customers to call 1-888-POWERON or *HYDRO on their cell phone to report an outage, downed power line, or tree on a line
Photo: Thomas Rohner
Submitted by the Regional District of Fraser Fort George

Winter can bring on weather events such as heavy snow fall, ice storms or high winds that can lead to extended power outages in many areas in the region. If you live an area prone to power outages, the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George encourages you to take some steps to prepare your family and home.

• Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment, and turn the thermostat(s) for the home heating system down to minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when power is restored. Also, power can be restored more easily when there is not a heavy load on the electrical system.

• Turn off all lights, except one inside and one outside, so that both you and hydro crews outside know that power has been restored.

• Don’t open your freezer or fridge unless it is absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door remains closed.

• Never use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment, or home generators indoors. They give off carbon monoxide. Because you can’t smell or see it, carbon monoxide can cause health problems and is life-threatening.

• Use proper candle holders. Never leave lit candles unattended and keep out of reach of children. Always extinguish candles before going to bed.

• Listen to your battery-powered or wind-up radio for information on the outage and advice from authorities.

• Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector. If it is hard-wired to the house’s electrical supply, ensure it has a battery-powered back-up.

• Protect sensitive electrical appliances such as TVs, computer, and DVD players with a surge-protecting powerbar.

If the outage is prolonged or if the house must be evacuated, protect it by taking the following precautions:

• Turn off the main breaker or switch of the circuit-breaker panel or power-supply box.

• Turn off the water main where it enters the house. Protect the valve, inlet pipe, and meter or pump with blankets or insulation material.

• Drain the water from your plumbing system. Starting at the top of the house, open all taps, and flush toilets several times. Go to the basement and open the drain valve. Drain your hot water tank by attaching a hose to the tank drain valve and running it to the basement floor drain.

• Note: If you drain a gas-fired water tank, the pilot light should be turned out – call the local gas supplier to re-light it.

• Unhook washing machine hoses and drain.

• Do not worry about small amounts of water trapped in horizontal pipes. Add a small amount of glycol or antifreeze to water left in the toilet bowl, and the sink and bathtub traps.

• If your house is protected from groundwater by a sump pump, clear valuables from the basement floor in case of flooding

For more information on preparing for power outages, please visit BC Hydro’s website or the Government of Canada’s “get prepared” website.