1 November 2022

Winter Storm Safety: Tips For Staying Safe And Warm!

Love it or hate it, Winter isn’t coming… it’s here! To help keep everyone safe and warm, we’re sharing some Winter Storm Safety tips, whether you get stuck at home or in the car!

First, do you know the difference between an advisory, a watch, and a warning? Thankfully, it’s not complicated:

Winter Storm Advisory

An advisory is often issued to cover a wide array of conditions and is your first heads up that a storm might be inbound. It is often based on long-term forecasts.

Winter Storm Watch

This is an issue when conditions favour severe weather. There is no storm yet, but chances are, there will be.

Winter Storm Warning

At this stage, it’s not a prediction. Severe weather is occurring or will imminently occur.

Staying Safe At Home

Good news, the best place to be when a winter storm hits is safely snug at home. Here are some ways to stay extra safe (and let’s not forget warm!).

Get A Rope

Depending on where you live and how bad visibility is, you would be surprised how easy it is to lose your sense of direction in a blizzard. If you absolutely must leave the house, tie one end of a long rope to your door and hold the other end (tightly). This will ensure you can always find your way back.

It might sound extreme, but a blizzard means wind chill. If that wind chill drops to -32, frostbite can occur in only 10 minutes.

Plan Ahead

Before a storm ever hits, you’re going to want to stash a few things, so you have them when you need them. This includes:

  • A first aid kit
  • Battery-powered flashlights
  • A radio
  • Ready-to-eat food
  • Tools for emergency repairs
  • Blankets
  • Cash (in case bank machines are down)

Stay Warm

Again, if you must leave the house, dress in layers. If it’s extremely cold, cover as much exposed skin as possible. 

Also, be aware of the warning signs of frostbite, like numbness and white areas, and the warning signs of hypothermia, like confusion, slurred speech, stiff muscles, or uncontrollable shivering.

Staying Safe In The Car

One of the most important things you can do in the winter is making sure your car is never low on gas. Try to keep it topped up, or at least above half. If you get stuck in a winter storm and have to wait it out, you’ll need to keep the car (and yourself) warm.

You should also keep an emergency kit in the car during the winter too. It should include:

  • Food won’t spoil
  • Water (in containers that won’t break if frozen)
  • A blanket
  • Extra clothing including shoes or boots
  • First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
  • Small shovel, scraper, and snowbrush
  • Cancel in a deep can with matches
  • Wind-up flashlight
  • Whistle
  • A road map

In addition, it’s also a good idea to keep these items in your trunk:

  • Sand, salt, or non-clumping cat litter
  • Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
  • Tow rope
  • Jumper cables
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Warning lights or road flares.

We hope these winter storm safety tips help you stay safe and warm this season! If you ever need more tips, visit the Government of Canada’s website.