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.
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.
- Visit cdc.gov for information on food safety following a flood.
- Contact a qualified electrical contractor to inspect your electrical equipment and appliances. Visit technicalsafetybc.ca to find a qualified electrical contractor in your area.
- 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.
- Your contractor will advise BC Hydro when it’s safe for your power to be reconnected.
- 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.
See the electrical safety during a flood handout [PDF, 160 KB]
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 BC Wildfire Service.
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.
The threat of an earthquake is constant in parts of B.C. Knowing what to do and being prepared can help you and your family stay calm and safe.
What to do during an earthquake
- Stay calm and take action to protect you and your family.
- Practice the 'Drop, Cover, and Hold On' technique to best protect you in the event of an earthquake.
- Take shelter underneath a heavy table or desk, tuck your head to your knees, and cover your 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.
What to do after an earthquake
- Check yourself for injuries and help others.
- Assess your situation and implement your emergency plan.
- To determine if it's 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's immediate danger and follow our guidelines for evacuation if need to leave.
Staying safe outside and in your vehicle after an earthquake
- Stay at least 10 metres (the length of a bus) away from any downed or damaged power lines or electrical infrastructure. Assume that these are live and dangerous.
- See our visual guide to motor vehicles and safety around downed power lines
- Refer to the Emergency Mannagement BC website for general information