Preparedness for Winter
Before a winter storm arrives, plan ahead so you can comfortably and safely carry on during the winter season.
- Make arrangements with family members who may be elderly or have limited mobility issues and who do not live with you – help them prepare for winter.
- Get your home winter ready – have your furnace inspected, shut off outside water to protect plumbing and built-in sprinkler systems, and clean the catch basin grates before snow arrives.
- Assess the trees on your property and trim dead branches to reduce the danger of them falling onto power lines or your house during a storm.
- Winterize your vehicle and, when it snows, drive only with good winter tires.
- Make alternate plans for getting to work in the snow.
- Be sure to have warm clothing and solid shoes or boots with good traction.
- Assemble a basic emergency supplies kit to help your family be self-sufficient for 72 hours.
- Have a flashlight, electric lantern, and extra batteries on hand.
- Consider an alternative safe heating system - choose approved heating units that do not depend on an electric motor, electric fan or other electrical device to function. Check with the dealer or manufacturer regarding power requirements and proper operating procedures.
- Use caution and follow directions when operating generators, insuring they are in a proper well-ventilated area.
- Furnace and fireplace maintenance considerations are very important in preparing for winter weather.
- Never use a camp stove, barbecue, or propane or kerosene heater indoors.
Colder temperatures demand a lot of your vehicle so it's important to prepare for the winter season. Visit a qualified technician to ensure your vehicle is in good working condition. Prepare a small, portable Grab-&-Go Kit to keep in your vehicle to help you in the case of an emergency.
Winter Driving Tips
- Ensure you check current road conditions before you plan a trip during the winter at the Ministry of Transport's DriveBC page.
- Check for weather alerts before your road trip as well at Environment Canada's Public Weather Alerts page.
- Ensure your vehicle is ready for winter with proper maintenance, winter tires, chains and a winter survival kit in your trunk.
Preparedness Tips in the Case of Power Outages
The most common occurrence during a rain/wind storm is often extended periods of power outage mainly due to trees and other plant debris impacting power lines.
- Residents should have personal preparedness kits made up with up-to-date supplies and be prepared to stay on their own for a minimum of 72hours .This is the minimum requirement and, more practically, residents should consider being prepared to be on their own for up to a week. Information on preparing a kit, contents etc.,can be found here.
- Residents should ensure their insurance coverage is up to date and keep copies of their coverage in their emergency kit.
- While a power outage is not a disaster and generally will not require residents to evacuate their home, residents can further prepare by having a portable generator to power items such as fridges and freezers.However, make sure if you are operating a generator it’s placed outside your residence and the exhaust does not enter your home.
- Residents might want to consider maintaining a land line phone - these units do not require power and as long as your phone line is intact, access should be maintained. Cordless phone stop working when the power is out.
- Consider purchasing an external battery device that will charge a couple of smartphones and a tablet in just over an hour. These devices are readily available at most electronic stores for a reasonable cost ($20-$100) and are invaluable during power outages.
Personal Winter Safety
Winter storms can create personal safety issues if you are not prepared. Following weather forecasts and paying attention to personal emergency preparedness will reduce any possible impacts to your family and your property.
There are also a number of precautions you can take which will help to comfortably get through the winter season safely.
- Dress appropriately for the inclement weather. Protect exposed skin and help prevent heat loss by wearing a hat, scarf, mittens or gloves.
- Choose well insulated and waterproof footwear that has a thick, non-slip tread sole, a wide and low heel and is light in weight.
- Try not to drive unless you have to and only if you have good snow tires.
- Keep a medical emergency kit in your vehicle.
- Always, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic and pay close attention.
- When you see a snow plow approaching, please move to the inside of the sidewalk, and stay far away from the road when it is passing by.
- Allow extra time to get to your destination whether you are walking, taking transit or driving – slow down.
- Be aware of your surroundings. A covered patch of ice or a pothole filled with snow may cause an unexpected slip or fall.
- Stay at home, unless you absolutely need to travel when weather conditions are bad.
- Run errands during daylight hours whenever possible since it is easier to see slippery spots.
- Be careful when shoveling snow - although there is limited physical action, the strain of shoveling can put a strain on a person’s heart. People with a heart condition should use caution. Use a smaller shovel, take your time ad see a doctor if you experience discomfort.
- Stay off of the ice on lakes and ponds during the winter as the ice is too thin and poses a safety risk. Ice is not thick enough to support people or animals.
- Students should use caution walking to and from school when it has snowed, and when playing in the snow.
Emergency Program Office