Safety tips to prepare for winter storm season

Most areas of British Columbia have already seen their first snow of the season

Most areas of British Columbia have already seen their first snow of the season, and winter conditions will be the norm for the next few months.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General and Minister Responsible for Emergency Preparedness Mike Farnworth reminds British Columbians that proactive winter storm preparedness can go a long way towards ensuring the safety of B.C. families.

Winter weather readiness tips

* Environment Canada will issue arctic outflow warnings when extremely cold winds that can create wind chill values of -20 C or colder are forecast for six or more hours. Use caution and limit outdoor exposure under these conditions, as there is an increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia. Parents and pet owners should be particularly mindful of children and pets being outdoors during these times.

* Always wear clothing appropriate for the weather. Dressing in layers, with a wind- and water-resistant outer layer, provides flexibility for changing conditions. Cover as much exposed skin as possible by wearing hats, scarves and gloves to avoid frostbite. Try to stay dry, and change out of wet clothing as soon as possible.

* Severe weather can cause power outages. Be prepared for up to one week by developing a household emergency plan and putting together an emergency kit. If you come across a downed or damaged power line, assume it is live and a danger. Stay back at least 10 metres (the length of a bus) and call 911 immediately to report.

* Drive for the conditions. There are fewer daylight hours, and blowing snow can further reduce visibility. Wet and icy roads call for extra caution behind the wheel, and drivers should always maintain a safe distance from highway maintenance vehicles. Motorists should monitor DriveBC for up-to-date road conditions and have an emergency kit in their vehicles that includes warm clothes, winter footwear, food and water, a shovel, a flashlight and a fully charged cellphone for emergency calls.

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