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Canada Majority of British Columbians not prepared for next severe winter storm: BC Hydro

10:25  23 november  2019
10:25  23 november  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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BC Hydro is urging its customers to be more prepared this winter season, after being hit by what they describe as “the worst windstorm in its history” last December. Even after last year’s storm , however, BC Hydro says that “many British Columbians remain unprepared for storm -related power outages.”

B . C . has experienced two severe winter storms in the past four years, but despite this, a majority of British Columbians are not prepared for a powerful weather event, says a BC Hydro report released Friday.

a long bridge over a body of water: Boats are battered by waves at the end of the White Rock Pier that was severely damaged during a windstorm, in White Rock, B.C., on December 20, 2018. © THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck Boats are battered by waves at the end of the White Rock Pier that was severely damaged during a windstorm, in White Rock, B.C., on December 20, 2018.

Nearly a year after BC Hydro experienced the most devastating windstorm in its history, the utility says a majority of British Columbians aren't prepared for the next one.

BC Hydro's report cites an online survey conducted last month that found 60 per cent of 800 respondents "have not taken steps to be more prepared for power outages caused by winter storms."

Further, only 50 per cent of those surveyed have an emergency preparedness kit, which BC Hydro says all residents should have in the event of a power outage. The survey found only 10 per cent of respondents plan to purchase a kit this year.

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The majority of British Columbians surveyed say they aren't prepared for a major weather event: survey. Many had power knocked out last winter in “About 60 per cent of British Columbians aren’t prepared for storm season, and only half of British Columbians that we surveyed actually have an

Storm preparation and outage prevention. For years, BC Hydro ’s storm response has been looked to as one of the best in North America. The survey conducted for BC Hydro found nearly half of British Columbians do not think they are prepared for an emergency.

"That 60 per cent number is concerning to us," BC Hydro spokesperson Tanya Fish said. "We recommend people take those steps to get prepared, not only for power outages but also for other emergencies."

In December, more than 750,000 customers lost power after high winds battered the B.C. coast, with gusts topping 100 km/h.

READ MORE: BC Hydro says December windstorm was the most damaging in its history

The storm downed trees and power poles, and damaged homes, businesses and landmarks like the White Rock pier.

BC Hydro says the December storm was larger than the August 2015 windstorm that affected the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, and the 2006 windstorm that hit Vancouver Island and devastated Stanley Park in Vancouver.

But the utility said these storms are happening with increasing frequency. Data shows that in 2018, more customers experienced storm-related power outages than ever before.

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British Columbians should be prepared for winter storms , which can cause strong winds, falling trees, flooding, traffic disruptions and blizzards. "As you pull out your winter clothing or holiday decorations, think about whether your household is ready for severe winter weather

BC Hydro says customers need to play their part in the event of the lights going out as it prepares for winter storms with new tools and technology to tackle power outages. But a new report by the utility says more than 60 per cent of British Columbians still aren't prepared for when the power goes out.

"We know winter storms are getting worse," Fish said. "We've seen more damage to our system, more damage to our customers. This is a way for us to encourage customers to get prepared."

BC Hydro says everyone — particularly in coastal and island communities — should be bracing themselves for storms similar to the one in December.

That includes having an emergency kit that includes a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, required medications, non-perishable food, warm clothing, blankets and bottled water.

READ MORE: B.C.’s winter weather outlook: It’s going to get interesting

The report notes in the last five years, BC Hydro customers have lost power for an average of five million hours each year due to trees and adverse weather.

In 2018, that average shot up by more than double to 11 million hours.

Province-wide, tree-related outages were up 29 per cent in 2018, compared to the five-year average.

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