Every year, winter weather brings accidents on the roads and problems in homes across
Canada. Blizzards, black ice, and freezing rain cause damage to property and claim the lives of
Find out how to minimize the risks and learn some interesting facts about Canadian
Some suggestions for staying safe and warm this winter:
Dress to suit the weather.
Thin layers of loose fitting clothing will trap body heat while aiding air circulation. Outer
clothing should be hooded, tightly woven, and water repellent. Mittens are warmer than gloves.
It is important to wear a hat because most body heat is lost through the head. If it is
extremely cold, cover your mouth to protect your lungs from the cold air.
Watch for signs of hypothermia
Hypothermia is particularly threatening to the very young and elderly. Feeling cold over a
prolonged period of time can cause a drop in body temperature. Symptoms of hypothermia are
shivering, confusion, and loss of muscular control. If symptoms occur, seek medical assistance
immediately. Hypothermia can progress to a life threatening condition where shivering stops,
the person loses consciousness and cardiac arrest can occur.
Cold and wind chill
During winter, pay particular attention to wind chill. Periods of high wind chill will boost
home heating costs and reduce the effectiveness of automobile block heaters. Frostbite becomes
an increasing threat to humans and animals. Wet skin or wet clothing in direct contact with
skin increases the effective wind chill.
Winter power outages
Be ready for a power outage. Before winter, make sure you have extra batteries, flashlights and
a portable radio and regularly make sure they work.
Winterize your home and vehicle
Insulate your home to avoid cold air leaks and minimize heating costs. Prepare an emergency kit
for your home and vehicle and ensure your home heating system is in good working order. (Visit
getprepared.cafor a list of home and car emergency kit contents).
Pace your outdoor activity
Be alert for signs of frostbite. Avoid strenuous activity in extremely cold temperatures
because the heart must work harder to pump blood through constricted vessels in arms and
Be careful when shovelling. Even on their own, vigorous exercise and cold temperatures can
cause high blood pressure and accelerated heart rates; in combination, they make those
conditions even more likely. Take some precautions: take breaks, shovel with a buddy, warm up
your muscles before you start, don't shovel right after you eat, and check with your doctor if
you suffer from a particular condition.
If possible, avoid driving if a winter storm warning or blizzard warning has been issued for
your area of travel. Keep to main roads as much as possible and turn back or seek refuge if
Travel by daylight and with a companion if possible
When traveling alone, make sure someone knows which route you are taking, and your departure
and expected arrival times. Be sure to notify them of your arrival to prevent an unnecessary