Collisions with power poles on the rise; BC Hydro offers tips to avoid harm

VANCOUVER — BC Hydro says it's seeing a rise in the number of car accidents involving its power poles and other electrical equipment and is offering tips to avoid injury.

The utility says it responded to more than 2,100 accidents involving its equipment last year, which is 13 per cent higher than the five-year average.

The region with the largest spike in collisions was the Lower Mainland at 16 per cent.

All other regions also saw more collisions with the exception of the central Interior, which saw a two per cent decrease.

In the event of an accident involving electrical equipment, BC Hydro recommends driving out from under the power line and at least 10 metres away, or the length of a bus, from the source of electricity if it is safe to do so.

If it's unsafe to do so because of injury or because the vehicle is inoperable, occupants should remain in the vehicle, phone 911 and wait for BC Hydro crews to arrive.

If staying in the car is not an option due to fire or other emergencies, BC Hydro says you should remove loose-fitting clothing like jackets and scarves to reduce the risk of contact.

The utility then recommends opening the door and standing behind it, then jumping out and away from the vehicle without touching any part of the vehicle at the same time as the ground.

Land with feet together and shuffle heel-toe away from the vehicle and call 911, it says.

BC Hydro says these types of accidents make up four per cent of its "trouble" calls throughout the year and led to more than 970 power outages for customers in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2019.

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