Earthquakes, wildfires, and floods

Know what to do in the event of a natural disaster

As natural disasters become more common in B.C., the information below will help you know what to do to stay safe in the event of a flood, wildfire or earthquake.

Getting prepared with an emergency kit and an evacuation plan before an event is the best way to keep you and your family safe.

Flooding

Get the latest information on B.C.'s flood situation at EmergencyInfoBC. If your power has been disconnected, see the steps to take to get it reconnected

See the electrical safety during a flood handout [PDF, 160 KB]

What to do when on evacuation order

  • Turn off the electrical main power switch only if the building is dry. 
  • Move portable electrical items to somewhere not at risk of flooding.
  • Don't enter flooded basements or buildings that may have energized wires or appliances.
  • Don't touch damp walls.
  •  If you're boating in a flooded area, avoid power lines and avoid boating when its dark.

Returning home after a flood

  • Remember that gas and electrical hazards may still exist long after flood waters recede.
  • Contact a licensed contractor to inspect for any safety hazards and ensure it is safe for you and your family.
    • Electrical appliances or systems damaged by flooding can be dangerous if they’re re-energized and used without being properly inspected by a licensed contractor. 
    • Visit technicalsafetybc.ca to find a contractor in your area.
  • Visit cdc.gov for information on food safety following a flood.

Reconnecting your power after a flood

  1. Contact a qualified electrical contractor to inspect your electrical equipment and appliances. Visit technicalsafetybc.ca to find a qualified electrical contractor in your area.
  2. The contractor will conduct a safety assessment of your property and apply for a permit from Technical Safety BC. In some cases, if emergency repairs are required, these may be conducted prior to a permit being issued. See Technical Safety BC’s emergency repairs bulletin or call Technical Safety BC at 1 866 566 7233 for more details.
  3. Your contractor will advise BC Hydro when it’s safe for your power to be reconnected. 
  4. We’ll arrange to have a crew reconnect your power within 24 hours. This is dependent on our crews being able to safely access the area.

Wildfires

Our crews work closely with local and provincial emergency authorities in the event of wildfire. For updates on the status of wildfires, fire danger ratings and fire bans, visit the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch.

In the event of wildfire, stay away from and do not touch BC Hydro infrastructure (lines, poles, towers, hydro boxes, etc.). Assume that any fallen or damaged infrastructure is live and dangerous. 

Earthquakes

At home

The threat of an earthquake is constant in parts of British Columbia. We experience thousands of minor earthquakes every year.

During an earthquake:

  • Stay calm and take action to protect you and your family.
  • Practice the 'Drop, Cover, and Hold On' technique that will best protect you in the event of an earthquake.
    • Take shelter underneath a heavy table or desk, tuck head to knees and cover head
    • Stay away from objects that may fall
    • Keep well away from glass (it may shatter)
  • Stay in your location for 30 seconds. Expect and prepare for aftershocks.

Following the earthquake:

  • Check yourself for injuries & help others.
  • Assess your situation and implement your Family Emergency Plan.
  • To determine if it is safe to stay in your home with respect to electrical and gas safety, you should have a licensed BCSA contractor perform a hazard assessment.
  • Leave your home if you believe there is immediate danger.
  • Follow guidelines for evacuation if you need to leave.

Outside and in your vehicle

  • Stay away and do not touch BC Hydro infrastructure (lines, poles, towers, hydro boxes, etc.). Assume that these may be energized and may cause harm.
  • See our visual guide to motor vehicles and safety around downed power lines
  • Refer to EMBC website for general information

Get more information on earthquakes and earthquake preparedness: