Hayden Louwers, left, and his brother Hunter, check out a display created by B.C. Hydro to educate the public on how to be prepared for long-term power outages caused by extreme weather and other natural forces. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

B.C. Hydro in Nanaimo warns about effects of wild weather

Utility educates public how to be prepared for extended power outages

B.C. Hydro hopes it isn’t just whistling in the breeze when it comes to warning its customers to be prepared for winter winds and other forces of nature that can cause power outages that last for days or even weeks.

A windstorm in December 2018, the worst in B.C. Hydro’s history, caused unprecedented infrastructure damage and left more than 750,000 customers without power on the south B.C. Coast, but a recent survey commissioned by B.C. Hydro revealed more than 60 per cent of British Columbians – who had experienced that storm and are also aware of the increasing severity and frequency of storms – still have not taken steps to become more prepared for power outages. More than 50 per cent had not have an emergency kit, the survey found.

On Wednesday, B.C. Hydro in Nanaimo unveiled a Weather the Storm information kiosk, with a fan that can simulate a 40-kilometre-per-hour wind, that can be taken to events to educate the public about the potential for damaging winds, earthquakes or other events that could leave people without electrical service for extended periods, and how to prepare for them.

“It’s just a fun way to remind people to be prepared,” said Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro spokesman. “Get prepared. Not just for storm events, but for any event that can hit us on Vancouver Island.”

Olynyk went on to point out strong winds Tuesday night left thousands of customers on the Lower Mainland and Victoria.

“You never know when it’s going to hit. You never know how strong the winds are going to be, so that’s why we’re always telling people, be prepared, have your emergency kit, have fresh batteries, have a charger for your cellphone. Do you have water? Do you have what you need to last 72 hours in case there’s an outage?”

B.C. Hydro recommends a flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit, required medications and non-perishable food and bottle water be included in a basic emergency kit.

The demonstration kiosk will be set up at Ladysmith Light Up on Thursday evening.


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