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Blizzards

Emergency Response Guidelines


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A blizzard is characterized by strong winds, significant wind chill and poor visibility due to blowing snow. The Meteorological Service of Canada uses the following general criteria for issuing blizzard warnings:
  1. strong winds reaching 40 Km/h or greater
  2. visibility of less that 1 Km
  3. cold temperatures; and
  4. conditions lasting duration of at least 4 hours.

Blizzards, which can last for days, can create a variety of dangerous conditions. Heavy snowfall and whiteout conditions can make travel difficult. Exposure can result in frostbite and/or hypothermia, both of which pose risks to health and safety of students, faculty and staff.

Secondary conditions that can result from blizzards include power outages, falling trees/branches and/or accumulation of heavy snow, frozen water pipes due to the cold temperatures and flooding from melting snow.


Blizzard Preparedness And Safety

At Home Or In University Residences

Students, faculty and staff should not venture out in a blizzard. Stay home. Depending on the amount of snowfall, travel could be hampered and highways could be closed. Your basic emergency kit should be checked to ensure that its contents are current.

On Campus

Students, faculty and staff who find themselves stranded on University property should remain inside until the storm subsides. Advise Security 8.204.786.6666 of your location and number of persons seeking shelter.

In Vehicles

If you are traveling and unable to make it to your home, or that of family or friends, seek safe shelter in a public place such as a hotel/motel, a restaurant, a mall or other business. When traveling in the winter months you should:

  1. Have your vehicle fully checked and winterized
  2. Keep your fuel tank near full
  3. Carry a cell phone
  4. Let someone know your timetable and route for travel

If you do find yourself stranded in your vehicle the following will aid in your survival:

  1. Stay with your vehicle
  2. Use your cell phone to advise emergency services of your location
  3. Run your vehicle sparingly, approximately 10 minutes per hour
  4. Ensure that the tail pipe is not blocked
  5. Open a window on the side away from the wind for fresh air and to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
  6. Make yourself visible by turning on the lights at night when the engine is running
  7. Tie a coloured cloth to your antenna, and raise the hood of your vehicle once the storm has passed


Prepare an emergency car kit

Always have winter safety and emergency equipment in your car. A basic car kit should contain the following:

  • Food that won't spoil, such as energy bars
  • Water—plastic bottles that won't break if the water freezes (replace them every six months)
  • Blanket
  • Extra clothing and shoes or boots
  • First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
  • Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
  • Candle in a deep can and matches
  • Wind‑up flashlight
  • Whistle—in case you need to attract attention
  • Roadmaps

Items to keep in your trunk:

  • Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
  • Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
  • Tow rope
  • Jumper cables
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Warning light or road flares

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