A lightning strike on a nearby hydro pole caused some minor outages at St. Mary’s Hospital in Sechelt on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
“The belief is that one of the poles was hit, the pulse came down the line and into the hospital and knocked out the circuit-breakers,” Douglas Andrie, manager of mental health and addictions, said Wednesday.
The power surge knocked out the hospital’s overhead paging system for several hours and also affected the phone lines for about 45 minutes, blocking calls from the outside, but did not shut down the building’s main power.
“Some of the networks went down, but everything was back up in a few hours,” Andrie said.
No patients were in danger due to the incident, which had no operational impact on the hospital, he added.
Andrie could not definitely pinpoint the location of the hit hydro pole, but said it was believed to be one of the tall poles near the hospital’s helipad that have aeronautical clearance lights at the top.
While the incident was minor, it was also unusual, Andrie noted, saying it gave staff an opportunity to assess the hospital’s emergency preparedness.
“I think the outcome was pretty good,” he said.