Cold Wave

Emergency Response Guidelines

Cold waves, which are a fact of life in Manitoba, can last for weeks and can have an affect on infrastructure, machinery and health and safety. Frost bite and hypothermia pose a serious risk to students, faculty and staff.

Cold Wave Preparedness And Safety

When a windchill warning is issued, check your basic emergency kit to ensure that it is current. As infrastructure could be affected, the following are additional items that may be considered:

a. An alternate heat source with extra fuel. Ensure that there is proper ventilation. Never burn charcoal indoors
b. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and make sure that the household knows how to use it
c. Prepare for possible isolation in your home. Keep a stock of food and extra drinking water

What To Do During A Cold Wave

a. Stay indoors as much as possible
b. Listen to the radio or television for weather reports and emergency information
c. Conserve fuel, if necessary, by temporarily closing off heat to some rooms
d. Eat to supply heat to the body and drink non-alcoholic beverages to avoid dehydration

Dress For The Season If You Must Venture Outside

a. Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight; warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent
b. Mittens are warmer than gloves
c. Cover your head and ears
d. Cover you mouth to protect your lungs
e. Use caution when shoveling snow. Over exertion can bring on a heart attack, a major cause of death in the winter
f. Watch for signs of frostbite; loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of the nose
g. Watch for signs of hypothermia; uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.
h. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get to a warm location and remove any wet clothing. If conscious, warm the centre of the body first by giving warm, non-alcoholic beverages. Seek medical help as soon as possible

Driving During A Cold Wave And Winter Conditions:

About 70 percent of winter deaths related to snow and ice occur in automobiles. Consider public transportation if you must travel. If you travel by car, travel in the day, don't travel alone, and keep others informed of your schedule. Stay on main roads; avoid back-road shortcuts.

Winterize your car. This includes a battery check, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashing hazard lights; exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, oil level, and tires. Consider snow tires and keep your car's gas tank full.

If you get trapped in your car:

Prepare an emergency car kit:

A basic car kit should contain the following:

Items to keep in your trunk:

You can protect yourself and your household from the many hazards of a cold wave and winter conditions by planning ahead.

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