Extreme weather

Extreme weather can arise quickly and pose several significant and sometimes overlapping health and safety issues.

One in three Canadian adults has experienced a major weather-related disaster or emergency (Government of Canada, 2023). The Government of Canada (2023) reports that we live “in a period of rapid climate change,” and high-risk weather is becoming severe, longer, and more frequent across Canada  

Preparation helps to comply with legislation and better respond. Emergencies can happen anywhere. The hazards you need to prepare for depend on your location in British Columbia, so the first step is to identify your hazards. The following resources provide health and safety information on emergency response planning

  • storms 
  • floods 
  • hot environments (and a safety huddle) 
  • wildfire smoke  

These resources can help employers keep their staff safer in extreme weather conditions. 

SafeCare BC resources

WorkSafeBC resources

  • Emergency evacuation planning for your workplace

    Emergencies and disasters can happen any time and without warning. The more prepared you are for them, the better you'll be able to respond. This resource for employers will help you plan for emergencies and develop effective procedures for evacuating your workplace.

  • Heat stress

    Our bodies naturally maintain a temperature between 36°C and 38°C. Sweating cools our bodies down, but if you work in a hot environment this might not be enough. If your body heats up faster than it can cool itself, you experience heat stress. This can lead to serious heat disorders and potential injury.

  • Wildfire smoke: Frequently asked questions

    This publication outlines responses to frequently asked questions from employers during the wildfire season. This information is provided to help you understand the hazards associated with exposure to smoke, and to outline some measures you can implement to minimize worker exposures.

Other resources

  • PreparedBC: Guide for small Businesses

    Use this guide as a starting point to protect that investment and the people you employ by ensuring your business is prepared to be up and running as soon as possible following any type of emergency or business disruption.

  • Staying safe during storms

    BC storms can involve strong wind, heavy rain, and snow. These disturbances in the atmosphere can cause power outages or fluctuations, damages, and electrical/gas hazards.

  • British Columbia hazard map

    The first step to getting prepared is knowing which hazards could happen where you live, or in other areas in B.C. you might visit.

  • Information Bulletin: Emergency – natural disaster protocol for electrical and gas equipment safety

    Procedures for re-commissioning gas & electrical equipment after a natural disaster has occurred.

  • Flood safety

    Floods are common in BC and can happen at any time of year. The most severe floods usually occur in spring and early summer due to heavy rain and melting snow. They can also be caused by storm surges, ice jams or damage to structures like dikes or dams.

  • BC Provincial Heat Alert and Response System (BC HARS): 2023

    While focused on describing the BC HARS, this document also contains general background information on heat events in B.C. and the reason for the establishment of the BC HEAT Committee.

  • Face masks for wildfire smoke

    The best way to protect your health from wildfire smoke is to seek cleaner air. Use a portable air cleaner at home, find an indoor environment with filtered air, or relocate to an area with less smoke. If you cannot access cleaner air, some face masks can provide protection from wildfire smoke

  • Provincial wildfires map

    This interactive map provides up-to-date information on active wildfires in British Columbia.

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