A flock of hungry chickens greeted a TELUS crew member checking homes in 103 Mile prior to residents being allowed home after being evacuated. TELUS

In the midst of wildfires, TELUS takes time to feed the chickens

Crew members have been making sure phone lines are intact in evacuated communities.

Feeding chickens isn’t something that TELUS crews normally expect to be doing; but a TELUS team member in 103 Mile found himself doing just that recently, while crews were preparing for the re-entry of residents to an evacuated area of the community.

The work in 103 Mile was similar to what occurred in Cache Creek prior to residents being allowed to return home, explains Liz Sauvé, who is with TELUS media relations. She provided an update on TELUS services in the area, and the continued support for residents and emergency responders.

“TELUS crews were able to access the area [Cache Creek] as soon as it was safe, and repaired all damaged infrastructure to ensure services were fully up and running by the time residents returned home,” says Sauvé. “Crews visited every single customer’s home while they were evacuated and left a note on each door, letting residents know that we’ve been by and ensured their external connections to our network were not impacted, and repaired them if they were.

“We also want to remind evacuees that they will not be charged for home services with TELUS while they were evacuated. Customers don’t need to call us, as we’re taking care of this proactively within our billing department, but if they do have any questions or concerns we’ve set up a special 1-800 number for evacuees only at 1-844-443-8622.”

Sauvé also notes that TELUS has donated $2,500 to Royal Canadian Legion Branch #113 (Ashcroft) in appreciation for the Legion ladies who took it upon themselves to provide two meals a day—sandwiches at lunch and a hot meal at dinner—to those working in the area, including firefighters, TELUS crews, and BC Hydro personnel.

“Most of the businesses and restaurants in the area were closed, and there weren’t many places for the crew members to eat,” says Sauvé. “The Legion took it upon themselves to feed all the workers in the area. When we heard they’d volunteered, we wanted to thank them for their generosity in volunteering their time and resources to feed emergency response crews working in the area.”

She says that one of the cell towers servicing the area lost power. It continued to operate via a generator, but the generator needed refuelling every eight hours, so TELUS crew were continuously refuelling it. “They had to keep an eye on the time and the fire risk, and work with other crews to go up and re-fuel.

“We also lost a lot of lines in the area, and we were able to restore service when it was safe. BC Hydro goes in first and replaces lines and poles, and we follow along almost like an assembly line to re-string the phone lines.”

In order to ensure that impacted customers stay connected to their loved ones during these challenging times, TELUS is waiving all of their domestic voice, text, and data overage fees until at least July 31, or for the entire duration of affected customers’ evacuation.

The same applies for all evacuated residents who have home services such as Internet, TV, and home phone with TELUS: the company will be waiving all home service charges while customers were or are evacuated and away from their homes.

What about those chickens in 103 Mile? Sauvé says that a TELUS crew member was approaching one house, to ensure all communication lines were working (particularly 911) from the exterior of the home, so that they were up and running before the residents returned.

As the crew member approached the gate of one house, almost a dozen chickens came rushing up to him. “They probably hadn’t seen a human in days!” says Sauvé. “Our technician could only imagine the poor birds were hungry. After he finished checking the home’s connection, he saw a big can of chicken feed on the front porch, so he grabbed it and fed the chickens.

“Suffice it to say, they were very happy. Our team member left a hand-written note on the home’s welcome back card from TELUS, letting the chickens’ owners know that he fed them some of their food.

“These are some of the best stories to come out of a challenging situation like this. Even though we’re working as hard as we can to do the really important work, like repair and maintain critical communications, it’s important for us that we still find time to be a good neighbour, and feed the chickens.”