September 21st, 2018

To Your Health: Think safety, preparation as winter approaches

By Gillian Slade on October 30, 2017.

On several occasions recently the alert siren on the radio has come on issuing evacuation instructions to residents of more than one community.

It is scary to listen to even if you are not in the community being evacuated. Some of those affected have talked about the challenge of what to take with when you leave in a hurry. The horror of perhaps losing their home and contents after they have evacuated is always on their minds.

At the beginning of the month I was caught up in that snow storm and was delayed getting home for a couple days.

A common denominator is the unexpectedness of it all. On the other hand perhaps there is a lot we can do to be better prepared if we need to leave our home or are stranded in bad weather.

If you have to evacuate suddenly important documents would be one of the most important things to have with you. There may be valuable items or things of sentimental value that simply can’t be replaced and those are equally important.

It is a good exercise to consider what you would want to take and write it all down on a paper that can go on your fridge or the back of your closet door. If you are ever in that situation it may be helpful to follow the list and collect what needs to go with you.

As we approach colder weather it is also time to stock your vehicle with basic items that you may need if you are stranded. A warm blanket or two, a candle, snacks, bottled water and a first aid kit. Make sure you have a flashlight and some extra batteries. A shovel will come in handy if you have to dig yourself out of a snow drift and a bag of salt/sand or kitty litter could help you gain traction on a slippery surface.

It is surprising how many people will head out in their vehicle without being adequately dressed for the weather. There is a tendency to think that if the car is already warm you don’t need the gloves and hat and warm jacket. An issue with your vehicle can occur anywhere — even in town — and being appropriately dressed can make a big difference while you wait for help.

It is a good idea to keep an extra pair of gloves and a hat, perhaps even a sweater in your vehiclein case you need it.

Winter and cold weather is coming whether we like it or not and a little preparation can help to keep us safe and healthy.

Here’s to being prepared and here’s To Your Health

To Your Health is a weekly column by Gillian Slade, health reporter for the News, bringing you news on health issues and research from around the world. You can reach her by email on call 403-528-8635.

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