With the winter season right around the corner, it is important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Although winters in Metro Vancouver aren’t as extreme as winters in the rest of Canada, the effects of winter are often unexpected and dangerous, no matter where you are. Plus, many students here at Heritage Woods Secondary live on inclined terrain. Steep hills or roads during snowy or icy weather can create hazardous situations where one can become immobile or injured. Therefore, it is better to be over-prepared so that you are ready to deal with anything that may go wrong. Proper measures can save you from a lot of pain and trouble.
Have a plan. Knowing what to do during winter weather is a necessity. Make sure you have proper clothing to protect yourself from the elements and to maintain body temperature. Your household should have at least two snow shovels to clear driveways and sidewalks (sometimes even roads) efficiently. A portable heater is not required but recommended. In case there are power outages, make sure you have the supplies and equipment to survive for a few days.
Know your means of transportation. During or after a storm, certain methods of transportation can become limited due to various environmental factors. Snowfall could create obstructions on roads, or the formation of ice may make driving dangerous. Keep in mind that these limitations apply to public transport as well. You never know when a bus or Skytrain will be cancelled.
Walk and drive safely. When walking, make sure you have proper footwear to prevent slipping or leg/foot-related injuries. Watch for spots where the ground may be too challenging to traverse. While driving, make sure to watch for slippery areas. Even packed snow or forms of slush can prove to be quite dangerous to drive on. Additionally, ICBC recommends using snow tires. If the usage of snow tires could have prevented an accident, the driver will be deemed “at-fault” for not having the proper precautions. Remember to never drive if visibility is poor.
Watch for fire hazards. Any heating equipment that should be properly and regularly maintained. The Port Moody Fire Department states, that, “Half of home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January and February.” Keep any flammable objects (and children and pets) away from heaters, fireplaces, and furnaces. Installing a carbon monoxide detector may be a good idea if you frequently use fuel-related equipment.
Watch for weather alerts and pay attention to forecasts. Having knowledge of when and where a storm could prove to be very valuable. Unexpected events can lead to unexpected consequences, even if you are prepared. Therefore, during the winter, making predictions and planning ahead is crucial. Make sure you know which kinds of storms are coming and how they will affect you.
Written by Harper Kim