A street during winter

How can you prepare for cold or even extreme cold weather events?

Posted Wednesday January 27, 2021

Posted By: Alexandre Seguin

Category: General

­­Weather, it’s one of our favourite topics. It’s one of the hardest things to predict; and yet, for that very reason, we should always be prepared for it!

How can you prepare for cold or even extreme cold weather events?

What are those events?

Good questions!

In Emergency Management, we use specific language to talk about preparedness.

However, no matter how we talk about it, when you boil it all down, it’s things that you are probably already doing but don’t think of in that way, or maybe it’s that you could use a little help building on what you already know.

For example, let’s see what someone who works in Emergency Management thinks of when they hear the words: polar vortex.

BUT…, before we start, here’s an insider scoop.

  • Always have a bit of cash and coins with you. Everyone carries plastic, but what happens if the ATM is out of order? Or there’s a power failure?
  • Make sure to have ½ a tank of gas or more or if you take transit or have at least 2 fares loaded onto your Presto card or extra cash.
  • Keep your phone charged and have a backup portable charger.
  • Have a list of important people and their contact numbers written down (not in your phone, but on paper, in your bag).
  • Bring snacks and water in your bag or and when you travel by car.

Be informed
Find out what’s going on with the weather. Traffic. Road conditions and closures. Disruptions to transit schedules.

Why is this important? Well, there are many reasons but here are a few:

  • It helps to ensure you have what you need at home in case of a power failure
  • It’s always good to know what’s going on before you leave your home.
  • Dressing appropriately for weather conditions will help avoid the risk of frostbite or hypothermia.
  • No one wants to be stuck in traffic if they can avoid it, especially on an empty gas tank!

Make a plan

This past year has been challenging. There isn’t a person around who would debate that and adding one more task to our list does not sound appealing.

By making a plan ahead of time, (ensuring every member of your home knows what to do in case of an emergency) who to call (Hydro, gas, plumber), knowing where your emergency equipment is located and creating a network of friends, relatives and neighbours all help in increasing your resiliency.

Be Prepared

In emergency management, everyone is encouraged to be ready for at least the first 72-hours of an incident. Why? Because it gives responders time to focus on urgent needs and ensures that those who can manage on their own are safe.  

Knowing risks, making plans, and organizing an emergency kit, can help us to take care of ourselves and others, no matter what comes our way. 

Build A Kit


(72-hour) emergency preparedness list includes: 

  • Water – (at least 2 litres of water per person per day) 
  • Canned food 
  • Prescription medications 
  • Cash money 
  • Flashlights with extra batteries 
  • Contact lists (telephone numbers and addresses) 
  • Hygiene products 
  • Pet food and supplies

Now, if we go back to the beginning, when I asked:

What does someone in Emergency Management think of when they hear the words: polar vortex? Did any of the above cross your mind?

Getting prepared can provide you the band width to think about the things you need in your home in the event of a significant snowstorm, windstorm, extreme cold or a power outage while we continue to cope with the ongoing pandemic.   


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