Lights out! Are you prepared for April's total solar eclipse?



Geomagnetic storms in space can cause power outages here on Earth​​

On Ap​ril 8, several parts of Canada will be treated to the rare phenomenon of a total solar eclipse. When our moon comes between the sun and the Earth, it creates a shadow that blocks out the sun's light.

The total solar eclipse will not ​be visible for people living in British Columbia. Scientists, however, have highlighted the possibility of increased solar flares and geomagnetic storms from this event that may yet affect us here in BC.

Solar flares are an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy within our sun. Those solar flares can cause geomagnetic storms in our magnetosphere, the region around our planet that has a magnetic field. Both of these celestial events are caused by the energy release from our powerful sun.

Our Earth is shielded by our magnetosphere, which is why Northern communities can sometimes see aurora lights. The effects of both solar flares and geomagnetic storms can lead to blackouts or collapse of our electrical grids.

Make an emergency plan

It is important to be prepared to live without power for several days:

  • Know the risks – Knowing the risks specific to your community and your region can help you better prepare.
  • Make a plan – It will help you and your family know what to do during an emergency.
  • Get an emergency kit – During an emergency, we all need some basic supplies. We may need to get by without power or safe drinking water. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours in an emergency. You can also create a grab-and-go evacuation bag.

Visit for more resources to help you, your family, and community prepare for all types of emergencies, including blackouts. Remember to include your neighbours so everyone can take part in preparedness, response, and recovery. 

Power outages and blackouts

If your power does go out, first check to see if that outage is limited to your home by inspecting your circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If there are no tripped breakers and you have access to cellular data, you can check BC Hydro's list of current outages or their outage map.

If your outage is not listed, you can report the outage online or by calling 1-800-BCHYDRO (224-9376). If you live in a multifamily dwelling (condo or apartment building), please report the outage to your building manager.

Things to consider in a power outage

There are several considerations you may have immediately following a power outage that may impact yourself or the people around you:

  • Are there Elders, people with disabilities or other people with movement challenges who may need assistance?
  • It's also important to check on people who live alone, people with mental illnesses, people with pre-existing health conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease), people with substance use disorders, people who are marginally housed, people who are pregnant, and infants and young children
  • Are you able to evacuate your home without elevator service? It's important to never use an elevator during an emergency even if there is power.
  • Do you have a plan for a backup power supply for essential medical equipment (i.e., a generator)?
  • Your electronic devices should have a portable charging supply that does not require an outlet
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed to minimize the risk of food spoilage

Help and supports

First Nations Health Benefits and Services

First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day
Toll-free, 7 days a week, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: 1-855-344-3800

Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum cultural supports and counselling

KUU-US Crisis Line Society
Adults and Elders: 250-723-4050
Children and Youth: 250-723-2040
Toll-free: 1-800-588-8717

BC Get Prepared

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