BELCO keeps close watch on the ever-changing weather conditions year-round and ensure their internal emergency procedures are evaluated and updated annually to maintain preparedness. Ensuring our country and community weathers a storm safely requires the efforts of all of us. We must all do our part. Here are some tips on how you can weather the storm safely:
Prior to the Storm
Trimming your trees at least 10 feet back from power lines in advance of the approach of any storms will prevent branches from pulling down power lines and even entire utility poles, which pose a serious electrocution and fire hazard. Additionally, it can reduce the risk of one of the most inconvenient parts of a hurricane, losing your electricity, as most outages in Bermuda are caused by trees falling on power lines, even in years where Bermuda avoids a direct hit. By keeping trees trimmed at least 10 feet back from power lines, the majority of outages can be prevented. This is why BELCO works to ensure that trees are cut back near main line circuits and some branch lines. This proactive approach has prevented outages on main line circuits since the programme launched in 2011. BELCO is not responsible, however, for trimming trees on private property. The sole responsibility for keeping trees trimmed and cut back from power lines lies with the property owners. It is critically important to remember that a power line’s electricity must be disconnected before trimming trees next to it. To schedule a temporary disconnection for tree trimming safety, please call BELCO at 295- 5111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org three weeks in advance. Hurricane season is already underway, so now is the time to make sure that your trees are clear of any power lines.
As the Storm Approaches
- Once the storm is on its way, unplug any electronic appliances that are not plugged into a surge protector.
- Remember to secure any fuels outside and make sure that they are away from electrical panels.
- If you are planning to leave your home for the duration of the storm, please shut off your electricity at the breaker box and call BELCO prior to doing so.
During the Storm
- During the storm visit BELCO’s website, belco.bm, or social media pages for outage updates.
- BELCO restoration crews must wait for hurricane-force winds and storm conditions to subside before they begin to restore power. Please do not report power outages during a storm.
- If there is an emergency, however, such as a downed wire or pole fire, please do call BELCO at 955 immediately.
After the Storm
- Stay off the roads as much as possible to leave them clear for emergency services and utility trucks.
- Check your property for any electrical damage, such as frayed wires, downed power lines, sparks, or the smell of hot or burned insulation.
- BELCO must keep the lines free for emergency calls, so please wait until BELCO issues a public advisory that it can accept outage report calls.
- If you must go outside, avoid downed power lines! Never touch a downed power line, even if it does not appear to be live. Stay at least 33 feet away – or three car lengths – and avoid piles of debris or downed foliage that may conceal live power lines.
- If you do come across a fallen line, do not run. Instead, keep your legs together and shuffle away with both feet on the ground. Shuffling will prevent your legs from bridging current from higher to lower voltage, resulting in shock.
For more information about hurricane safety, visit www.belco.bm/storms.
For information regarding how to prepare for an impending storm, contact BF&M.
Read more from our Hurricane Season 2023 series, HERE!