Expert Electric Blog

Winter Storm Electrical Safety Tips

522-s5stormWinter is here soon, and when we think of winter, we think of snow, ice and strong winds. As we head in for a cold and snowy season, here are some Electrical Safety Tips you might want to read about.

In Your Neighbourhood:

  • There maybe downed power lines, which may still be live. Stay at least 35 feet or 11 meters away as electricity can travel through water and the ground surrounding power lines.
  • In case of a downed power line, please report immediately to BC Hydro.
  • Refrain from clearing snow, ice or storm debris until the power is disconnected or power lines are repaired.
  • In the event that a power line lands on your vehicle, stay in the vehicle until emergency responders arrive. Exiting a vehicle that has been contacted by a live power line is extremely dangerous. Similarly, do not attempt to assist someone if their vehicle is in contact with power lines.

Checklist for home:

  • If there is heavy accumulation of snow and ice, it can bring trees and branches down onto power lines causing power outages and electrically charged hazards. It’s always a good idea to inspect the trees surrounding your property and call your local authority to trim branches away from overhead power lines before a bigger issue arises.
  • Try to stay warm, cozy and safe. It’s a good idea to research before buying portable heaters and electrical blankets and ensure they bear a recognized Canadian certification mark like CSA or UL.
  • Keep a good supply of candles, first aid kit materials and water handy in case of a power outage.
  • In case of flooding, shut off your main electrical panel if there is a main disconnect switch; then shut off all your breakers and do not stand in water or be in contact with metal when doing this. Use a wooden stick to switch off all your breakers.
  • If the basement is already flooded, don’t touch anything! Contact BC Hydro to cut power off at the pole or the meter. After the power has been restored contact an electrician to investigate that all electrical components that were flooded are checked proper and safe operation before power is restored.
  • Do not plug in or use electrical appliances that have been wet until they have been checked by a licensed electrical contractor or serviced by the manufacturer.
  • Portable generators, when used correctly, can provide security and comfort during power outages. Only use in dry, well-ventilated areas keep them outdoors and never connect portable generators to electrical appliances or wiring components that have been affected by flood water.
  • If you have a generator , then it is a good idea to have it serviced regularly to ensure safe use.