On Tuesday July 20th, the Province of British Columbia declared a state of emergency to allocate additional resources in the fight against wildfires. This is the third such state of emergency in the last 6 years, a truly unprecedented phenomenon.
We are fortunate to live near the beautiful coastal waters of British Columbia- where the risk of being directly impacted by a forest fire is relatively nominal. Our neighbours inland are not so lucky and, as demonstrated by the tragic events in Lytton, BC and elsewhere, many British Columbians are in for a devastating summer due to the intense heat we’ve already experienced. For decades, we have been warned of the potential impacts of climate change and those are being made more and more apparent in recent years with the increasing severity of fires.
While most of our clients will not have to worry about an actual blaze causing damage to their properties, there are ancillary impacts we should all be mindful of. The most obvious are power outages relating to fires (and other calamities). Sub-stations for BC Hydro run throughout the province, and in many areas that are at risk from fire. While we have fortunately had very reliable and stable power here in the Lower Mainland, that’s not necessarily a given. To that end, BC Hydro has prepared this circular with helpful tips on how to better prepare your home or business for a prolonged power outage. Of course, an emergency kit is first and foremost on the list. Those can be assembled in advance and available to you and your families should the power go out for any sustained period of time.
With summer upon us the risk of smoke impacting our health is also heightened. Make-up Air Units can be inspected proactively to ensure that the filters are clean and clear which should improve the air circulation in your common hallways/lobbies. These units provide fresh air from your rooftops to your hallways and provide positive pressurization for a number of reasons including internal fire suppression and smell mitigation. While it may be tempting to turn these units off during periods of heavy smoke, we always recommend consulting with your HVAC technician before doing so as there can be repercussions depending on your building configuration. In almost all cases, the fresh air provided by these units is superior to stale and unmoved air.
By taking a few simple steps to be prepared you can at least rest easy that your Strata Corporation is able to withstand the ancillary impacts of this and future wildfire seasons.