Technology and industrial accidents

Technology and industrial accidents are disasters that occur as a result of human action rather than forces of nature.

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an insidious and deadly gas that has no colour, smell, or taste. Because it is imperceptible, hundreds of people die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning caused by unknown leaks every year.

Any vehicle or appliance, including furnaces, that burns fuel may emit carbon monoxide. It is recommended that carbon monoxide detectors are placed throughout the home to alert people if a leak occurs.

How to prepare

Know the symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness,
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Confusion

Eventually, someone with CO poisoning may become lethargic, then unconscious.

What to do during a CO leak

If you suspect a CO leak:

  1. Move everyone outdoors immediately, if possible leaving your windows and door open.
  2. Call 9-1-1.
  3. Call FortisBC at 1-800-663-9911.

Do not return to your home until a professional has identified the source of CO and the problem has been corrected.

Learn more about CO poisoning

Hazardous materials

If there is a hazardous materials spill in your area and it poses a threat, listen carefully to the instructions provided by emergency officials.

How to prepare

Have an emergency plan, including sheltering in place and evacuating, and prepare an emergency kit so you can survive on your own for a minimum of 72 hours.

What to do during a spill

We may alert you of spills by:

  • Rapid Notify automated phone message system
  • Door-to-door (if applicable)
  • Police patrol cars or fire vehicle using a public address system
  • Media, including radio, TV, internet, and social media

During a spill, be sure to:

  • Stay clear of the area affected and routes into the area
  • Listen to local media for updates
  • If you are evacuating and have time, close windows, shut vents, and turn off fans

What to do after a spill

  • Return home only when emergency officials say it is safe
  • Open windows and vents, and turn on fans for ventilation
  • If you came in to contact with or were exposed to hazardous chemicals:
    • Follow decontamination instructions from local authorities
    • Seek medical treatment for unusual symptoms as soon as possible
    • Place exposed clothing and shoes in tightly sealed containers. Do not allow them to contact other materials
    • Advise everyone who comes in to contact with you that you may have been exposed to a toxic substance
  • Report any lingering vapours or other hazards to 9-1-1

Learn more about hazardous spills

Power outages

Power outages can occur anywhere, anytime, and to anyone.

How to prepare

Make an emergency plan and prepare an emergency kit so you can survive on your own for a minimum of 72 hours. 

Read tips provided by BC Hydro for planning ahead for your home or business.

What to do during a power outage

Check the BC Hydro website to see if the outage has been reported already. If not, follow the directions provided.

If you are inside when an outage occurs:

  • Listen to your local radio station on a battery-operated or wind-up radio for up-to-date information, or use your laptop or cell phone to access outage information.
  • Turn off breakers for select items, such as your computer, television, and stove, to avoid a power surge following start-up.
  • Leave a few breakers on so you will know when the power has been restored.

If you are outside when an outage occurs, stay at least 3 car lengths or 10 m away from downed power lines.

What to do after a power outage

  • Give the electrical system a chance to stabilize before turning on breakers.
  • Reset your clocks, automatic timers, and alarms.
  • Check your refrigerator and freezer. If food in the freezer is colder than 40 degrees and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.

Learn more about power outages

Security risks and cyber attacks

Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks

British Columbia's emergency alert system will be used in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack. It is part of a national alert system that will broadcast emergency alerts on television and radio.

Learn more about nuclear attacks

Cyber attacks

A cyber attack occurs when computer systems are sabotaged, with a virus for example.

Cyber attacks may:

  • Erase entire systems
  • Break into systems and alter files
  • Use your computer or device to attack others
  • Steal confidential information

How to prepare

Follow the Government of Canada tips to keep you and your family safe from cyber attacks. 

What to do if a cyber-attack happens to you

  1. Immediately change all passwords; financial passwords first.
  2. Disconnect your computer from the internet and restart in safe mode.
  3. Contact companies, including banks, where you have accounts, as well as credit card companies.
  4. Close any accounts that may have been compromised.
  5. Watch for unexplainable or unauthorized charges to your accounts.
  6. File a report with the local police.
  7. Report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Learn more about cyber safety