Electrical Outage

Electrical Outage

Power outages happen without warning. They can last as little as a few hours, or can last as long as a few days. That’s why it’s important to have a Emergency Kit stocked and ready to go. This kit will support you and your family for up to three days in the event of a power outage. Review our Power Outage Safety Checklist (PDF).

How to Prepare

  • Review Before an Emergency for general information on how to prepare.
  • Build or restock your Emergency Preparedness Kit.
  • Make sure you have an alternative charging method for your phone and other powered devices.
  • Know where the manual release level for your garage door opener is located and how to open it.
  • Purchase ice or freeze water filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during the power outage.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full, gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.

During an Electrical Outage

  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if it’s cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.
  • Turn off all electrical appliances and equipment to prevent damage when turning them back on.
  • Do not use camp stoves, kerosene heaters or barbeques indoors, as they emit carbon monoxide.
  • Gas stoves used as a heat source for long periods of time without ventilation will do the same.
  • Ensure you have access to a phone that doesn’t need power to operate, because cordless phones won’t work without power.

After an Electrical Outage

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 4 degrees for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odour, colour or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 4 degrees and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about medications having spoiled.
  • Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned food and other supplies.
Read these tips and generator safety guidelines from BC Hydro for more information on what to do when the power goes out.

Food Safety Tips for Long-Term Electrical Outage

  • Use foods that spoil rapidly first.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. A refrigerator freezer will keep food frozen for up to a day. A fully-loaded chest-style freezer will keep food frozen for two days.
  • Use a cooler filled with snow or ice to keep food cold.
  • Be wary of storing food outside, even in the winter. Temperatures may vary, especially in the sun, and food may become warm enough to grow bacteria. Food stored outside must be securing stored to avoid contamination by animals.
To report a power outage or other electrical concerns, BC Hydro at 1 888 POWERON (1-888-769-3766), or *49376 (*HYDRO) from any cell phone.
Download: Power Outage Checklist