Storm causes power outages in Burns Lake, knocks down power line

BC Hydro wants drivers to stay safe around downed power lines

A weather system with strong, gusty winds and lightning swept across a large area of central B.C. on June 8, causing power outages in several communities including Burns Lake.

BC Hydro crews responded to outages in the Lakes District that impacted approximately 2400 customers at the peak of activity. Although most customers had their power restored by 10 p.m. on June 8, about 100 customers – in the area along Hwy. 16 from Endako to Topley – were still without power the next morning.

The winds caused a tree to knock down a power line on First Avenue. Over the past five years, public fatalities and injuries involving cars and power poles have doubled and BC Hydro wants to remind drivers how to stay safe in the event of an accident involving a power pole.

A recent survey commissioned by BC Hydro revealed almost half (47 per cent) of British Columbians do not know what to do if a power line falls on their vehicle. Power lines carry potentially fatal levels of electricity. To stay safe, always assume that any vehicle that comes into contact with a power pole that results in a downed line is energized – even if it is not sparking, smoking or making a buzzing sound.

BC Hydro encourages drivers involved in accidents with power poles to stay in the car and call 911. A BC Hydro crew will isolate and ground the damaged equipment to make it safe. If staying in the car is not an option, follow these tips:

– Remove any loose fitting clothing before exiting the vehicle and do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time;

– Jump out and away from the vehicle, taking care to land with feet together;

– Do the shuffle –when exiting the vehicle, shuffle with feet together. Don’t walk, step or pick feet up off the ground;

– Shuffle at least 10 metres away – the length of a bus.

Occupants of vehicles that come into contact with power lines are not the only ones that risk serious injury or death. The same survey also found over one fifth (23 per cent) of British Columbians did not know how far back they should stay from the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving a downed line. If a vehicle makes contact with a power pole, stay back at least 10 metres (about a bus length) and call 911.