(File Photo)

The majority of British Columbians are not prepared in the event of a major winter storm, according to a new BC Hydro report.

A storm preparedness report published on November 22nd states that 60% of British Columbia residents have not taken steps to prepare for power outages in the event of a major winter storm.

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Further, only 50% of the province’s population own an emergency kit, and only 12% of those who do not are planning to purchase one this year.

In December 2018, the province experienced one of the most severe and damaging storms in recent history.

According to BC Hydro, over 750,000 customers lost power as a result, most of them in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

In particular, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands were hit hardest by the winter storms last year, with over 87% of BC Hydro customers experiences power outages.

Data shows that the number of tree-related outages on the Island increased by 100% last year compared to the five-year average.

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Their report finds that around 30% of people living on Vancouver Island believe it is reasonable to be without power for 24 hours after a major storm, compared to their counterparts in the Lower Mainland who think only three to five hours is acceptable.

In the event of severe weather incidents like last year, BC Hydro recommends owning a fully stock emergency kit that includes:

  • A flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Required medications
  • Non-perishable food
  • Bottled water for each member of the household to last at least 72 hours
  • Warm clothing and blankets

“BC Hydro is also reminding British Columbians that if they come across a down or damaged power line, it should be considered live and dangerous and be reported to 9-1-1,” reads the report.

The electric utility company says it is making improvements to its operations during storms by introducing new technologies to better facilitate communication between crews in the field, and in its operations centre.