Copper cable theft could have deadly results

Cutting lines could mean cutting off 911 calls

On September 4, I was rushed to the Royal Columbian Hospital in urgent need of a life saving procedure.

This action came about at the culmination of a series of telephone calls between my wife and various family members. The end result was a call from one of our children to 911, putting the process of my receiving the medical care I required in motion.

Nine days later, following a successful procedure, I returned home to convalesce and begin the healing process. My wife and I had begun making phone calls to let friends and relatives know I was home and to thank them for their care and concern, when suddenly at around 8:30 p.m. the phone lines went dead.   Someone had cut a length of cable on Morris Valley Road, severing the telephone connections of several hundred homes for approximately 24 hours.

I realized very quickly that if this had happened a week earlier, the likelihood of my surviving my medical crisis would have been extremely slim. In essence the value of my life could have been reduced to the black market price of some copper cable. I realized also that among the many homes affected by the outage there are a large number of seniors which means that there are likely a significant number who have subscribed to the Life Line personal monitoring service. Obviously this would also have been severed rendering these individuals virtually helpless.

The following week, there was another cable cut alongside the road leading to Hemlock Valley Ski Resort.  While affecting fewer homes it posed a very real threat of a much different nature. This time the threat was to the physical welfare of the individuals cutting the cable as the cable cut was fiber optic and not copper.  Apparently if one looks at the end of a fiber optic cable it can severely damage the eye, even causing blindness and if one were to suffer a scratch while handling this cable, minute glass particles could be released into the blood stream, the result of which could prove fatal.

I would like to make this appeal to anyone who has done, or is considering stealing copper cable. Please consider the impact such action could have on the lives of your fellow citizens.  Not to mention the risk to your own personal well being, should you mistakenly cut the wrong type of cable and suffer an accident while doing so.

Gary & Laura Friesen

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