How to prepare for winter

Nov 20, 2014 | News

By Jessica Laws

People may have to rethink their winter safety kits after several people in Buffalo got stranded in a massive storm.

Would you be prepared for a Buffalo sized storm if it belted Toronto with just as much snow or even more?

Preparedness takes planning and Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt suggests having a kit in your car.

“If you can have an emergency kit in you’re vehicle, a blanket maybe some food and other emergency supplies, a shovel and ice scrapper and tools for the vehicle. Have your cell phone with you (and) have a charger in the vehicle,” said Schmidt.

Making sure you are visible to drivers so others can see you is also important.

“Make sure your full headlight package is on so people can see you from the front and from behind,” said Schmidt.

Adjusting to the current road conditions by increasing your following distance so drivers have enough time to stop is also crucial, he said. All of these things can help in making sure you make it home safely.

“Make sure you don’t leave the house dressed for a fall day when it’s going to be a winter day, you need your boots, your hat, your mitts, your layers just in case you might need to put them on or you get stuck at the side of the road for any length of time,” Toronto Emergency Medical Services Kim McKinnon said.

“Planning ahead is really important,” she said.

However, your car is not the only place that you need to have a safety kit. Natalie Moncur, communications advisor at the Canadian Red Cross, also suggests having a kit and an emergency plan for home.

“The emergency preparedness kit would be able to sustain you and your family for 72 hours,” said Moncur.

“An emergency can happen at any time,” she said. “We aren’t given notice usually so having something in place to help you get through those times is essential.”

Commuter Lynn Mitchell who travels from Burlington to downtown Toronto on a daily basis for work said she has contemplated creating a kit for her car and home.

“Do I? No,” she said.

“Should I? Probably,” Mitchell said, adding the only thing she makes sure to do is use the washroom before the drive home.

“If I know the weather is going to be bad I make sure to top up my gas in the morning,” Mitchell said.

According to the Government of Canada’s “Get Prepared” website lists these items for an emergency car kit:

  • Food like granola bars
  • Water in plastic bottles
  • Blankets
  • Extra clothing and shoes
  • Shovel, ice scraper and snowbrush
  • Candle
  • Flashlight
  • Whistle

After yesterday evening’s small snowstorm, being prepared is simply essential.