Ice and snow, lower light and cold temperatures means winter comes with a unique set of hazards. Here are some safety tips for staying safe at this time of year:
- Inform yourself - Check the Environment Canada weather forecast before going outside. Note wind chill and extreme cold weather warnings in your local area. Monitor weather reports for advance warnings and adjust your plans accordingly.
- Make a plan - During extreme cold weather, if you don’t need to go out then stay indoors. Keep winter supplies, such as sand, salt and shovels, close at hand. Use snow tires – they provide better traction than all season tires. Check your vehicle’s battery, antifreeze, wipers, windshield washer fluid, brakes and defroster before heading out. Plan your trip or route and allow more time to get to where you are going and keep a safe distance from other cars. Keep a winter storm kit in your vehicle, including blankets, flashlight, cellphone with charger, shovel, first-aid kit, non-perishable food, extra warm clothes, and water container.
- Dress for winter success - Dress in layers with a wind-resistant outer layer. We lose a large portion of our body heat from the head, so wear a hat as well as mittens or insulated gloves and something to keep your face warm, like a scarf, neck tube or face mask. Wear warm and waterproof footwear. Wet clothing and footwear lose their insulating properties, resulting in body heat loss nearly equal to that of exposed skin.
- Seek shelter - When the wind chill is significant, get out of the wind and limit the time you spend outside. Outside workers could schedule warm-up breaks and those involved in winter recreation could reduce the amount of time they spend outdoors.
- Watch your step - Watch for slippery walkways and stairs. Keep entrances, steps, exits, walkways, parking lots and loading docks clear of snow, ice and water. Wear proper outdoor footwear —well-insulated, waterproof, thick, non-slip tread soles made of natural rubber, with wide low heels. Walk at appropriate speeds and use railings on stairs. Look before moving, test your footing before losing weight, and avoid sudden turns or pivots. Watch for hazards or changes in conditions.