EDITORIAL: Lessons to learn

It is clear from the reaction to the widespread power outage that many people are very poorly prepared for a disaster.

Mission was hit hard by Saturday’s windstorm.

As of Tuesday night, a few customers were still without power, as BC Hydro crews and contractors worked to restore service in a number of locations. At the peak, 710,000 customers in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island were waiting for restoration of service.

It is clear from the reaction to the widespread power outage that many people are very poorly prepared for a disaster. When there is a large earthquake, as will happen at some point in the future, this outage will seem like a picnic. There will be much more widespread and long-lasting damage.

Overall, Mission residents did not fare too badly. While many were without power for 48 hours, some had generators, or made plans to take care of basic needs while awaiting the lights.

The fire department and police seem to have coped reasonably well with an increased number of calls for service. The hospital seems to have coped well.

A number of roads were affected by fallen trees or downed wires, but most major routes were able to remain open. Many traffic lights were out, and some drivers were not following the four-way stop procedure.

BC Hydro crews and contractors did a good job of fixing power lines as quickly as possible.

However, Hydro did not do a good job in communicating with the public about the storm, and when they could expect power to come back on. With the Hydro outage website down, many people were frustrated at the lack of information.

There are lessons to learn from this windstorm, and hopefully decision-makers are taking heed. There will be another disaster, and it may well be worse than this one.