7 Ways to Stay Safe in a Winter Storm
Old Man Winter is taking over parts of BC tonight according to the latest warnings from Environment Canada. The fact that naming winter storms has become common practice may seem a bit silly, but the sub-zero temperatures and messy roads are not. This one's being dubbed as, an “intense Pacific Storm”.
Here’s some advice for how to stay safe, warm, and dry during this and future winter snowstorms.
Stock up on food and water. No, the lines at grocery stores the night before a storm are not pleasant, but neither is living off the strange canned items everyone inexplicably has in their cabinets. (Try making a dinner of black beans and sauerkraut — you can’t.) Don't count on carryout and delivery to keep your stomach filled. Some restaurants may close early or forgo delivery to let employees get home. Make sure to have some bottled water on hand, too, and check that your heating system is up to snuff.
Have an emergency medicine bag. Think ahead about which medications you and your family members will need, and which medications you should have on hand in case of emergency. Double check any drugs needed to treat a chronic condition, such as insulin, to make sure you’re not in need of a refill. It’s also smart to keep an emergency kit stocked with acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and benadryl, since drugstores may close during a snow emergency.
Stay indoors. There are very few things that would justify braving a blizzard in your car or on public transportation. Weather experts recommend you stay inside if at all possible. Driving can be treacherous, and roads may shut down. Check Drive BC for weather updates. It’s also important to make sure you know when the snow might start — because you’ll have an easy time getting to work doesn’t mean the commute back home will be as easy.
Watch for frostbite. If you do have to go outside, dress properly. It is recommended that you wear three layers: one that can absorb sweat, a second to serve as insulation, and the last to seal out cold temperatures. Even the warmest clothing becomes ineffective if it gets too damp from absorbing sweat. Be sure to wear a hat and gloves, as the parts of the body most vulnerable to frostbite are the ears, earlobes, tip of the nose, cheeks, fingers, and toes since they’re at the edges of blood circulation.
Clear snow carefully. Eventually, of course, you’ll have to come out of hibernation. Once the blizzard or snowstorm has passed, make sure to layer up properly before you start snow shoveling or snow blowing. Stay hydrated, and take frequent breaks to make sure your body is warm enough. If you’re shoveling, remember it’s a strenuous, and potentially hazardous, activity and take care of your back. If a snow blower is your preferred tool, make sure to power it up only outdoors, wear hearing protection, and keep kids and loose clothing out of range.
Environment Canada is also warning, “anyone who is not dressed warmly is at risk of frostbite and hypothermia in cold weather, be prepared for unusually cold temperatures and strong winds. Drive with care, especially along coastal routes exposed to outflow winds.”
Stay safe out there!!