Waiting on winter

The Road Less Travelled

By Terri Windover, Connect Contributor

With winter temperatures only weeks away, it’s never too soon to get pre- pared for the frigid temperatures. SUP- PLIED PHOTO

With winter temperatures only weeks away, it’s never too soon to get prepared for the frigid temperatures. SUPPLIED PHOTO

When winter finally makes her frigid appearance, are you and your family prepared?

They are calling for a pretty harsh winter, filled with deep cold snaps and lots of snow. Personally, I’m looking forward to the snow as my partner and I both race our Skidoos on the Alberta circuit and we are very avid trail riders here in Fort McMurray – and elsewhere.

While winter brings special seasonal challenges, there are things that you can do to prepare to meet them head on. Whether it is a winter storm that can make navigating roads and walkways hazardous; power outages or extreme amounts of snow that can grind any city to a halt, these can test any family’s readiness for cold weather.

I was still living in Toronto during the big storms of 1999. Over the course of only ten days, we saw over 50 inches of snow hit the GTA and it literally paralyzed the city.

Things like snowmobiles and four-wheel drive trucks with lift kits are a rarity in Toronto, so it was a serious issue. I was the only person on my street that could get out to the grocery store over a four-day period thanks of course to my eternal love for pick-up trucks and big tires over the years. I literally took orders from over 20 households on my street, from diapers and formula to meds and bread.

Of course, none of us in Toronto were prepared for such a large scale series of snowstorms, but here in the north of Alberta we must be a little smarter and better prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at us.

Something I’m sure we have all decided is an important thing in the future. Take a minute or two to review your family’s emergency preparedness with this checklist. It’ll help you prepare your home and automobile for cold-weather hazards. Those boy scouts have the right idea.

Will your home welcome winter visitors safely? Get ready for snow, ice or rain on walks and driveways by stocking up on these cold-weather basics:
• Snow shovel
• De-icing compound
• Waterproof floor mats

Household emergency supplies should include enough food, water and supplies to last four days without power or help. Check your home emergency kit against this basic checklist:
• Food that doesn’t require heating or refrigeration, such as canned meats, soups and stews, cereal, and energy bars
• Manual can opener
• Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils
• 1 gallon of water per person per day (allow enough for four days)
• Flashlights and batteries
• Battery-powered radio
• Battery-powered clock
• Cellular phone
• First-aid kit
• Four-day supply of prescription medicines
• Blanket and cold-weather clothing for each family member
• Pet food and additional water for household pets

Winter transportation can mean coping with ice, snow, and hazardous roads. Road conditions can change in an instant. Before traveling, give cars a winter preparedness exam:
• Check antifreeze
• Check and replace older batteries
• Remember to keep the gas tank near full to avoid freezing water in the fuel line
• Check tires and spare tire for proper inflation

Make sure automobiles contain the following emergency supplies to handle winter road hazards:
• Bag of sand, road salt or non-clumping cat litter. The bag’s extra weight means better traction, and the contents can be spread under slipping tires.
• Ice scraper
• Jumper cables
• Small shovel (to dig snow away from wheels, or scatter sand on roadway)
• Tire chains (every driver should practice putting them on)
• Flares or reflective triangle to warn other motorists if you break down
• Blanket
• Flashlight and batteries
• Gallon jug of drinking water
• First Aid Kit

When traveling by car, include emergency food and clothing for each traveler. It’s also a good idea to pack supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency backpack in case you need to abandon your car. It should include these types of items:
• Jacket, hat, gloves and sturdy, snow-proof boots for each traveler
• Nonperishable food
• Bottled water
• Cellular phone
• Money

I hope this list helps you have a safe and secure winter season.

– Connect Weekly –