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LETTER: Fortis speaks to yesterday's downed power line

I read your article: Fire/downed power line on Columbia, Samaritans step up in a huge way, and thought it would be valuable to share some tips on how to stay safe if you come across a downed power line.

Safety is a guiding principle at FortisBC. Our crews are highly trained to respond to situations like yesterday’s events and their first priority on site will always be to ensure the safety of the surrounding area.

It is important to remember that downed power lines can be deadly. If you come across one, call 911 immediately. They will notify FortisBC.

In this instance, FortisBC was on site, securing the line within five minutes of being notified.

In addition to the downed power line, a fuse blew on a distribution line in the same area. This means the component was working as it should. It failed instead of continuing to conduct electricity.

With the dry, hot conditions the region is currently facing, fires are a risk that FortisBC is aware of and actively seeks to prevent. For example, our ongoing vegetation management program works to ensure trees and other debris are kept clear of our infrastructure.

While the fire was not at the site of the downed power line, we would like to remind people that if a downed power line does cause a fire, do not try to put the fire out yourself – water and electricity do not mix, and create an incredible safety risk. Stay 10 metres away and call 911. FortisBC will de-energize the line and work with emergency responders to douse the fire.

To learn more about how to stay safe around electricity, visit fortisbc.com/safety.

Grace Pickell

Spokesperson
FortisBC