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Falling snowy branch sends Island shoveller to hospital in ‘unusual’ event

Fire Chief Chris Aubrey warned there’s a risk of power outages with strong winds forecasted
Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey said strong winds combined with branches weighed down with snow may mean power outages are coming this week. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)

A Langford man was taken to hospital after he was hit by a tree branch that had been weighed down by heavy snow Tuesday (Dec. 20).

The man, who is in his 50s, was out shoveling his driveway in the 500 block of Treanor Avenue when the branch fell. Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey said the branch fell around 30 feet before hitting the man.

”It’s an unusual circumstance,” Aubrey said. “I mean, I’ve been in the fire department for a long time, I don’t recall an incident like this.”

Fire crews and BC Emergency Health Services responded, with firefighters bringing the man inside from the cold to await the ambulance. Aubrey said the man was talking with firefighters and in stable condition, with paramedics transporting the man to the hospital.

Aubrey noted the past 24 hours had been a busy period with broken sprinkler pipes and vehicle accidents.

“I think you’re talking about a windchill factor of minus-25. I mean, that’s just really unheard of for this region. So I think a lot of the incidents that we saw over the last 48 hours, it’s just (people being) not used to the extreme, winter weather conditions that have existed here that we don’t normally get.”

Strong winds are in the forecast over the next few days, which combined with snow weighing down tree branches could lead to trees falling and downing power lines, said Aubrey. Environment Canada issued an Arctic outflow warning for Greater Victoria, which included warnings of strong winds.

Aubrey said people should refresh their winter preparedness, including making sure their emergency kits at home are stocked in the event of a prolonged power outage. He also said people should try and keep drains clear ahead of the weather which is set to warm up later this week, to prevent flooding.

A spokesperson for BC Emergency Health Service said they’d seen an uptick in incidents and asked people to keep sidewalks and driveways clear and ensure house numbers are clearly visible to help ambulance drivers.

ALSO READ: ‘Brutal’ weather has Sidney, North Saanich police checking on the unhoused


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