Safety in Emergencies
Stay safe in an emergency
Motor vehicle accidents and other emergencies can create electrical hazards for the public and first responders. Learn the info that you need to know to stay safe.
What to do if there's an electrical accident
- If someone receives an electrical shock, do not touch the person if he or she is still in contact with the source of electricity (the electricity will travel from their body into yours!).
- If there is a downed power line, stay back and keep others back at least 10 metres (33 feet).
- Ask someone to call an ambulance and BC Hydro and stay at the scene.
- Provide paramedics or other medical professionals with the following How to Treat Electrical Injuries [PDF, 253 KB] pamphlet.
- Learn the 3 Keys of Electrical Safety.
Downed line barricade tape for field crews and emergency personnel during storm season
BC Hydro has downed line barricade tape available for field crews and emergency personnel to warn the public to stay back from dangerous areas, such as downed power lines or exposed underground lines.
If you wish to order rolls of the tape through your own budget, you may do so by contacting LaPrairie Cascade and refer to product code: BCH-TAPE-3 x 1000-3ml-LEP. Economies are realized with larger orders, such as when multiple fire departments submit a single order. Submit your order via fax or e-mail to:
LaPrairie Cascade Inc.
20121 – 115A Avenue, Unit #8
Maple Ridge, B.C., V2X 0Z3
Telephone: 604 460 6377
Fax: 604 460 6373
If you would rather order through another supply company, please download the high resolution artwork [PDF, 1.0 MB].
Motor vehicle accidents and electrical safety
- If a motor vehicle has been involved in an accident where a BC Hydro electrical pole, or padmounted transformer has been hit, treat the vehicle and anything it is in contact with as energized.
- Stay at least 10 metres (33 feet) away and call BC Hydro immediately.
- Tell the occupants to stay calm and to remain where they are.
- Upon arrival at the scene, BC Hydro will isolate and ground the damaged equipment and will supervise the removal of the vehicle.
Shuffle or hop – don't step
- If your vehicle makes contact with an energized line, stay inside until help arrives.
- If you are not injured and can safely drive the vehicle without increasing the hazard, drive at least 10 metres or 33 feet clear of the wire.
- Because so many things can go wrong, exiting the vehicle should be a last resort!
- If you must get out of the vehicle due to an emergency such as a fire, jump out with your feet together. Do not contact the vehicle and the ground at the same time with any part of your body or clothing.
- Jumping clear can be very dangerous because it is easy to bridge across a voltage difference. You must land with both feet together and not stumble.
- Once clear of the vehicle, calmly shuffle away, never allowing the heel of one foot to move beyond the toe of the other.
- If you cannot shuffle the 10 metres (33 feet) away from the energized area, put your feet together and hop. This is safe as long as you keep your feet together and do not stumble and fall. Stumbling may result in the body straddling across different voltages causing serious or fatal injury. The length of hop doesn't matter, but short hops are easier to perform.
- Unless there's a non-electrical reason to get away quickly, time is not a safety factor.