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.
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.
· 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.
Check Your Alarms
Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms save lives
· 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.
· 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.
· 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 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.
· 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.
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.
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.
· 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.
· 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.