Winter emergencies in Mississauga and how to prepare for them
Published December 12, 2022 at 2:58 pm
Residents can do a number of things in the coming weeks and months to ensure they’re prepared–both in their homes and out on the road–for many dangers that winter can bring.
City of Mississauga officials note that “storms bringing heavy snow, black ice, hail, heavy winds and freezing rain can appear in the blink of an eye.”
As such, they continue, “it’s important to know how to protect yourself and your family if your home loses power or heat, or if your vehicle gets stuck in the snow.”
People can prepare for the worst that winter can bring on a number of different fronts.
First, officials suggest, it’s important to get your home “emergency ready.”
“If a major winter storm hits, you could be stuck inside for a few hours or even a few days. That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare for a minimum of 72 hours,” a City spokesperson said in a news release today (Dec. 12).
Here are a few recommendations from the City:
- start with a plan: “It’s important that you and your family know what to do in an emergency. This includes staying indoors and establishing a network of people (family, friends, coworkers and neighbours) who can assist you during an emergency”
- prepare an emergency kit: “You should have an emergency kit for your home. Make sure to check your emergency kit twice a year to make sure everything is still in working order and the food is still safe to eat.” Some items you may want to consider for your kit include: non-perishable food; bottled water; manual can opener; battery-powered radio and flashlight; First Aid kit; blankets; extra hats, gloves, coats and footwear
- know how to protect your home in a power outage: “If a power outage leaves you without heat for some time, remember to drain your water pipes and shut off the main water supply to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting (if you live in a house)”
- prepare when you go outside: “If you must go outside, it’s important to dress for the weather and let someone know your route and expected arrival time”
Residents can also take steps to plan for safe winter travel, the City says.
“During a winter storm, it’s best to stay off the roads if you can. However, if you must drive in a winter storm, be extra careful on the road,” officials say.
Before leaving on a winter journey, officials suggest four important to-do’s:
- prepare an emergency kit for your vehicle: Kit should include items like non-perishable food, bottled water, battery-powered radio and flashlight, a First Aid kit, blankets, a small shovel, a warning light or flare, an ice scraper and snowbrush, anti-freeze and windshield washer fluid, jumper cables and sand, salt and cat litter
- dress warmly before heading out: “It’s best to dress for the weather in case you may need to leave your car should your vehicle become stuck in the snow” or for some other reason
- plan for delays: Consider leaving earlier. If this is not possible, before you leave alert those at your destination that you may be late
- prepare your vehicle: Clear your vehicle of snow and ice, and make sure your windshield washer fluid holder is full
Once on the road, the City suggests a few simple rules to follow:
- reduce your speed: Slow down and drive according to the conditions
- leave lots of space: There should be a lot of space between yourself and other vehicles on the road. It will likely take longer for your vehicle to come to a full stop when you apply the brakes. If your vehicle begins to skid, always steer into the skid until you regain control
- watch for emergency vehicles or snow clearing equipment: Pay attention, and if you see an emergency vehicle or snow clearing equipment, move over to provide them space
Finally, if you and your car become stuck in the snow while out and about, here’s a few things to keep top of mind:
- in an emergency, call 911. Try to stay calm and don’t leave your car in blizzard conditions. Keep the engine off as much as possible as there’s an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Turn on your warning lights to make your vehicle more visible. Keep an eye out for other vehicles and emergency responders
- if you’re stuck, but the conditions are safe, you can try to: clear snow around your tires with a shovel (make sure to clear your exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning); use cat litter, sand or floor mats to gain traction; or melt the ice with salt under your tire or try windshield washer fluid or anti-freeze
- if you’re unable to get your car out, call a tow truck. However, it’s important that you know your rights. Tow trucks must follow the City’s bylaws
For more information, visit the City of Mississauga website and search “how to prepare for an emergency.”insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising