Town of Canmore

Winter and Holiday Safety Tips

Winter Safety Tips

Winter is one of the most beautiful seasons in the mountains, but it can also be hazardous. Be prepared both indoors and outdoors to ensure your winter is warm, cozy, and safe.


Celebrate Safely

Holiday season is fire season. Provincial statistics continue to show that during the winter holiday season, fire-related deaths in Alberta homes double compared to the rest of the year.  Here are some tips to stay safe.

Check all lights before decorating
Before you put up lights, check the cords closely, discard any sets that are frayed or damaged and never plug more than three strings of lights together.
Use extension cords wisely
Be careful not to overload electrical outlets with lights, decorations and appliances as this can create overheating that could result in fire. Never put cords under rugs.
Stay safe during social gatherings
With all the festive cheer, keep a close eye on anyone attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol. Social occasions coupled with alcohol consumption, cooking, smoking, or unattended candles can create a fire risk.  Encourage guests to smoke outside and provide them with a safe ashtray. Refrain from burning candles during parties, as they can easily be accidentally knocked over or ignite nearby combustibles.
Watch what you heat!
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, which means it’s easy to get distracted from what we are doing.
· Cooking fires most commonly occur when cooking is left unattended.
· Always stay in the kitchen when cooking – especially if using oil or high temperatures.
· If a pot catches fire, carefully slide a tight-fitting lid over the pot to smother the flames and then turn off the heat.
Keep your Christmas tree well-watered
Water fresh trees daily, keep the base of the trunk in water at all times and keep your tree away from any ignition sources, such as the fireplace, heaters, or candles.
Encourage smokers to smoke outside
Careless smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires. If you do allow smoking indoors, use large, deep ashtrays that can’t be knocked over and make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished.

Check Your Alarms

Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms save lives

Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. 
· Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
· Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
· Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
· Have an escape plan. 
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
· You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide gas. Inhaling it can cause serious illness or death, so it is important to protect yourself and your family by having carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, including the basement.
· Make sure your smoke and CO alarms meet the needs of everyone in your home, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.

Use Heaters With Care

Here are some tips on how to use space and patio heaters safely to warm your living space, without burning your house down in the process.

Give space heaters some space
Don’t run space heaters near curtains, furniture, or holiday decorations, keep them at least three feet (one meter) away from anything that can burn – including you, and shut off/unplug heaters when you leave your home, or go to bed.
Setting up your new patio heater? Don’t forget to:
· Ensure your device is CSA approved – regardless of fuel type.
· Consult manufacturer’s directions as to placement, care, and maintenance of the unit.
· Ensure adequate overhead clearance as well as around the unit – about 2 metres.
· Ensure the base of the unit is on a solid surface to reduce the risk of tipping over.
· If the device is propane powered ensure your propane tank is well maintained and certified.
· Get your device hooked up by a professional if the device is fueled by natural gas.
Patio Heater Safety Tips
· Keep your heater away from combustible materials including siding, planters, outdoor textiles.
· Patio heaters are designed for an outdoor environment and should not be used inside.
· Ensure adequate ventilation of the space as carbon monoxide can build up in confined spaces for gas and propane units.
· Anchor the heater to protect it from the wind.


Be Prepared for the Conditions

Be ready for the harsh winter conditions of the Rocky Mountains. 

Do You Have a Roadside Emergency Kit?
Whether it's a flat tire on a road without cell service, or being on the highway when traffic comes to a standstill for hours, every car kit should begin with some general emergency supplies.
· Make your emergency kit
· Check road conditions
· Travel with a full tank of gas
· Learn more about other ways you can be prepared for a roadside emergency.
Prepare for Blizzards, freezing rain, and extreme cold.
Blizzards, ice storms, high winds, and blowing snow can develop quickly and threaten life and property. Alberta also experiences extreme cold temperatures during the winter, when temperatures can reach as low as minus 40°C or colder.
When severe winter weather threatens, Environment Canada issues special alerts to notify Canadians in affected areas so that they can take steps to protect themselves and their property. Check out Environment Canada's page on winter weather to learn more about the various weather alerts and click to learn more about how to prepare for the hazards winter throws at you.
Watch for Frostbite and Hypothermia
Hypothermia is an emergency condition and can quickly lead to unconsciousness and death if heat loss continues.

If someone begins to shiver violently, stumble, or can't respond to questions, it may be hypothermia, and you need to get warm them by removing wet clothing, gently drying them, ingesting small amounts of warm liquid, and seeking shelter. 
Adventure Safely in the Mountains
Heading out to find powder on a snow day? Dreaming of making tracks with snowshoes? Check out AdventureSmart.ca to help you plan for a safe and enjoyable outing, whatever your passion. AdventureSmart.ca encourages everyone to follow the three T's: Trip planning, training and taking the essentials for any outdoor adventure. Here are some key tips for winter adventures:
· Before heading out, complete a trip plan and leave it with friends or family. You can find a template online at AdventureSmart.ca
· Mountains are unforgiving. Get trained for your adventure and stay within your limits.

· Take survival essentials with you and equipment like a communications alerting device in case of an emergency. In avalanche terrain, for example, essential equipment includes proper training, probe, beacon and shovel.
· Wear a helmet when skiing, skating, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Dress in layers to avoid hypothermia and keep your head, ears and hands covered to prevent frostbite.

Don't Get Caught on Thin Ice

Every year, there are winter tragedies of pets or people falling through ice and sometimes not making it make out. Don't risk it.

Prevent Ice Tragedies
The thickness of the ice can be deceiving and there are weak areas that can give way at any moment. The colour of ice can indicate its strength.

· Clear blue ice is strongest.
· White opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Opaque ice is formed by wet snow freezing on the ice.
· Grey ice is unsafe because it indicates the presence of water.

Please note, that no public safety teams check for safe ice conditions. Any wild skating is at your own risk. Always assess ice thickness, never go onto ice alone, and keep pets away from all bodies of water and ice.

If a dog or a person falls in the water call 911 immediately and do not attempt to rescue them yourself. 
Quarry Lake is not Suitable for Skating
The lake is fed by an underground spring, which leads to variable ice thickness. For your safety, please stay off the ice at Quarry Lake. Click here for safe skating locations located within the Town of Canmore.

Resources

 GetPrepared.ca

The Town of Canmore is located within Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta. In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, we honour and acknowledge the Canmore area, known as “Chuwapchipchiyan Kudi Bi” (translated in Stoney Nakoda as “shooting at the willows”) and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Îyârhe Nakoda (Stoney Nakoda) – comprised of the Bearspaw First Nation, Chiniki First Nation, and Wesley First Nation – as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy comprised of the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3, within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. We acknowledge all Nations who live, work, and play and help us steward this land and honour and celebrate this territory. We commit to working to live in right relations and to advance Truth and Reconciliation.

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