What to do during a severe winter storm or extreme cold
How to prepare for a winter storm or extreme cold
- Winterize your home:
- install storm shutters
- clean the gutters
- check your roof for damage
- ensure proper insulation in the walls and attic
- cover windows with plastic on the inside to keep in heat
- use portable electric space heaters.
- Winterize your vehicle: have a qualified mechanic inspect and prepare your vehicle for winter conditions
- snow tires
- general maintenance of the battery
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle with extra clothes, blankets and candles.
- Ensure that your vehicle’s gas tank is always at least half-full.
- Have your 72-hour emergency kit ready in case you need to evacuate or shelter-in-place. Be prepared for power outages.
- Stock up on cold and flu medication and consider receiving the flu shot.
- Service snow removal equipment and keep a supply of rock salt to melt ice on walkways.
Driving during a winter storm
- Make sure to find out about the coming weather conditions by checking your local forecast.
- Avoid or delay travel if extreme weather conditions are expected.
- If you have to drive, check current road conditions inside the city, and Alberta 511 for highway conditions.
- Make sure you have a well-stocked vehicle emergency kit and winter tires installed to ensure good tire traction.
- Plug in your vehicle for a few hours during extreme cold temperatures before you drive.
- Let someone know where you’re going, your route, and your expected arrival time.
- Clean snow and ice off your vehicle and ensure your headlights and windows are clear.
- Drive slowly and leave extra distance between your vehicle and other vehicles, including sanders, graders and other snow removal equipment.
- Ensure your windshield fluid it topped-up and replace any wiper blades that streak.
If you become stuck in your vehicle:
- Remain calm, stay inside and call for help.
- Occasionally run the engine to stay warm, but make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked with snow and beware of exhaust fumes.
- Allow fresh air in by opening the window slightly on the sheltered side away from the wind.
Staying safe during a winter storm
- Don’t venture out if extreme weather conditions are expected. If you must travel:
- avoid remote areas
- let someone know where you’re going, your route, and your expected arrival time
- Consider using public transportation to avoid driving in less than ideal road conditions
- Make sure your heating system is in good working condition. Have a back- up heating system or supplies for a wood burning fireplace if you have one.
- If you are going out, ensure you are dressed for the weather and have layers to add or remove.
- If you must be outside, seek shelter and keep moving to maintain body heat.
- If you begin to experience symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia, seek medical attention or call 911.
- Check on family, friends and neighbours who may require additional support during a winter storm.
- Have a working carbon monoxide (CO) detector and be especially cautious if you are using space heaters indoors.
- Never use barbecues, camping heaters, gas or coal stoves or a generator indoors.
- If you or someone you see needs help and shelter, call 211 or the Human-centered Engagement Liaison Partnership (HELP) team at 403-998-7388. If they are in serious distress or non-responsive, call 911.
After a winter storm or an extreme cold warning
Keeping walkways free of ice and snow helps all community members move safely through neighbourhoods. Be a good neighbour - help shovel if you can.
- Clear the snow away from fire hydrants in your neighbourhood to make sure first responders can access them.
- Ensure your furnace and exhaust vents are free of snow and ice. Carbon monoxide can build up within your home if the vents are blocked.