Occasionally, Port Coquitlam and the Tri-Cities area experience periods of extreme weather – blizzards and cold, heat and humidity, heavy rainfall and high winds.
When to call 911
- Only call 911 when there is imminent danger to people or property, and immediate police or fire assistance is required. This includes incidents related to an ongoing emergency, fire or crime in progress, or suspicious people in the area.
- Call the non-emergency numbers for Coquitlam RCMP (604.945.1550) or Fire & Emergency Services (604.927.5466) when there is no immediate emergency.
Follow us on our social media channels, listen to radio or television. The most important thing is to seek out credible sources so you can make good decisions during extreme weather.
Start by bookmarking these trusted provincial channels via Twitter and their websites:
Extreme weather on or near your property
- Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours: If the power goes off, it may take hours, if not days, for it to be restored. Roads may not be safe during severe weather, and widespread outages may affect the availability of supplies. Ensure you are stocked up with at least a three-day supply of food, water, medications and other necessities.
- Lighting and power: Have a supply of batteries and enough flashlights for everyone in the household. Charge up devices and rechargeable battery packs before the storm hits. If you have a portable generator, make sure you know how to use it safely and never run it inside the home or in an enclosed space. Battery-operated lighting is safer than using candles.
- Catchbasin grates: During periods of heavy rain, clear nearby catchbasin grates of leaves and debris to prevent flooding.
- Trees of concern: Report trees on public property to Public Works: 604.927.5496 (business hours) or 604.543.6700 (after-hours emergencies). Trees on private property are the owner’s responsibility.
- Field Closures – Visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/sportsfields for an update on status of fields or call 604-927-5455 for a recorded message.
- Heat and cooking: If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, make sure chimneys have been cleaned within the past year before using it. Gasoline, propane or charcoal-burning appliances produce carbon monoxide – never use them inside your home, garage or carport, or near doors, windows or vents.
- First aid kit: Always have a well-stocked first aid kit, stored in an accessible place.
- Handling food: If the power is out for an extended period, carefully inspect all food from your fridge and freezer and do not eat any food you think may not be safe. When in doubt, throw it out.
Extreme weather In the community
- Fallen power lines: Stay back at least 30 feet (10 metres) from fallen power lines and report them to BC Hydro at 1.888.769.3766.
- Intersections: Four-way stop procedures are in effect when signals aren’t working.
- Help your neighbours: Check on neighbours who may need help, such as seniors, people with special needs, or families with young children.
Extreme heat can put everyone at risk from heat illness – particularly older adults, infants and young children, people with chronic illnesses, those who work or exercise in the heat, homeless people and low-income earners.
Heat waves are expected to become more frequent as our climate continues to change. We have developed an Extreme Heat Plan to help citizens during heat waves, which are generally defined as a period where the temperatures are at or above 32 C for more than three consecutive days.
The plan includes providing cooling centres and portable water fountains, and educating residents on how to prevent heat illnesses. Information will be publicized in the community and posted on this webpage whenever Environment Canada and the Medical Health Officer call a heat advisory for the region.
With the right precautions, heat illnesses are preventable.
The following information was provided by Health Canada.
During a heat wave:
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before feeling thirsty to avoid dehydration. Avoid beverages with caffeine or alcohol. Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.
- Slow down: Your body can’t function as well in high temperatures.
- Keep cool: Cool down in an air-conditioned location such as a store, library or a recreation centre (e.g. Hyde Creek or PoCo Rec Complex/Wilson Centre). At home, take a cool shower or bath.
- Avoid sun exposure. Shade head and face with a wide-brimmed breathable hat or umbrella when outdoors. Seek out shade and use sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher to avoid sunburns, which decrease the body’s ability to cool itself.
- Dress in lightweight, light-coloured and loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabric.
- Never leave people or pets in your care inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight.
- Frequently check on family members, neighbours and friends who are elderly or chronically ill to make sure they are cool and hydrated.
- Plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day, or try to find a cooler outdoor location (e.g. under tree cover). If this is not possible, reduce the duration and intensity of the activity.
- Prepare meals that don’t need to be cooked in the oven.
- Block out sun by closing awnings, curtains or blinds during the day.
- Get informed: Call HealthLink BC at 811 or visit their website. Call 604-927-5411 for information about cooling centres and portable water fountains in the community.
Before a heat wave:
Ensure your fans and/or air conditioner in your home, car and office are in working order, and replace/repair if necessary.
If you are taking medication or have a health condition, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it increases your health risk in the heat, and follow their recommendations.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating.
While waiting for help, cool the person right away by:
- moving them to a cool place if you can,
- applying cold water to large areas of the skin or clothing, and
- fanning the person as much as possible.
Common heat illnesses
Heat illnesses include heat stroke (see above), heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles), heat rash and muscle cramps.
Watch for symptoms of heat illness, which include:
- dizziness or fainting,
- nausea or vomiting,
- rapid breathing and heartbeat,
- extreme thirst, and
- decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine.
If you experience any of these symptoms during a heat wave, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Water is best.
If there is a flood risk
- While widespread flooding is not expected during this storm, free sandbags may be picked up 24/7 from the Public Works yard at 1737 Broadway St., from the south entrance.
- For next time: Determine the risk and prepare. Get flood plain maps and information for residents and businesses.
See city directory for these and other contacts:
- Downed power lines – BC Hydro: 1.888.769.3766
- Power outage and service updates – BC Hydro: 1.888.POWERON (1.888.769.3766) or HYDRO (49376) from any call phone, or www.bchydro.com
- Public Works emergencies (fallen city trees, transportation, drainage, flooding, sewer/water system) – After hours: 604.543.6700; business hours: 604.927.5496 or 604.927.5488.
- Natural gas outages and emergencies – FortisBC: 1.800.683.9911
- Police, fire and ambulance emergencies – 911
- Transit updates – www.translink.ca/alerts
- Weather updates – www.weather.gc.ca/warnings
- Go to www.portcoquitlam.ca/ep to learn how to get prepared.
- Follow the City`s Facebook and Twitter pages or call the Emergency Info Line (604.927.5311) for latest updates, facility schedule, tips and information related to the storm on Facebook and Twitter.
- Register for a free one-day emergency preparedness course offered throughout the year. Go to www.portcoquitlam.ca/ep for information, or sign up at 604.927.5460.
Port Coquitlam Emergency Preparedness Office
Location and Mailing Address
#1 Fire Hall
1725 Broadway Street
Port Coquitlam BC
Business Hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)