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What to do during a winter storm?

Allocating time for outdoor activities during the winter months is important to the health of all Canadians, but you need to be aware and prepared for Canada’s cold and severe winter weather. Canada has one of the most severe winter climates of any country and the Porcupine Health Unit Region, being a northern region, has a high probability of extremely cold temperatures and significant snowfall over the winter months.

Winter storms can cause:

  • High winds and dangerous wind chills that can lead to personal injury and possibly death. High winds combined with cold temperatures can cause serious health effects, such as frostbite or hypothermia.
  • Additional fatalities may occur from vehicle accidents, fires, or carbon monoxide poisoning. Snow and ice can build up causing road closures or blockages isolating residents from essential services.
  • Ice and snow may also cause roofs to collapse or knock down trees and power lines resulting in power outages and subsequent loss of heat in homes.

 In the event of a severe winter storm ensure that you:

  • Avoid unnecessary travel;
  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing, mits, and a hat;
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to keep from slipping on ice and snow;
  • Regularly check for frostbite numbness or white areas on your face and body when outdoors;
  • Avoid overexertion by taking frequent breaks if outdoors;
  • Winterize your home to retain heat;
  • Make sure that home heating devices are working properly, and exhaust pipes are free of snow;
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic; and
  • Add extra blankets and warm clothes to your emergency survival kit.

See Government of Ontario for more information.