Monday, January 22, 2018

Cold Weather Safety

Alberta Health Services EMS responds to many cold weather related emergencies every winter. Simple actions such as dressing appropriately and anticipating sudden weather changes can help keep you both warm and safe during the winter season.


  1. Frost-nip occurs when skin is extremely cold, but not frozen. It commonly affects the ears, nose, cheeks, fingers and toes.
  2. The skin appears red but also turns white when pressed. It may feel numb to the touch.
  3. When treated promptly, frost-nipped skin will heal without complication.
  4. Gently re-warming the affected area in a warm environment is advised.


  1. Frostbite is when skin becomes so cold, the skin and underlying tissue freeze completely.
  2. It may look white and waxy and will feel hard to the touch.
  3. Treatment begins with removal from the cold environment and placing the affected area in warm, not hot, water (about 41°C) until re-warmed.
  4. Seek further medical attention as required.


  1. Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature (less than 34°C as compared to normal body temperature of about 37°)
  2. People suffering hypothermia may act inappropriately with uncharacteristic stumbling, mumbling, and fumbling, as their body temperature continues to lower.
  3. Early recognition and prompt medical attention is crucial. Left untreated, hypothermia may progress to coma and death.
  4. Call 9-1-1. Do not forget to protect yourself from the factors that originally lead to the patient’s situation.
  5. Gentle re-warming should start as quickly as possible including: removal of wet or constrictive clothing, covering with blankets or sleeping bags, and protecting the patient from further heat loss (wind, moisture and contact with cold surfaces).

Cold Weather Tips for Cats and Dogs

  1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, cats can freeze or ingest antifreeze or other harmful chemicals.
  2. Never leave your cat or dog alone in a car during cold weather. If the engine is left on, the carbon monoxide will endanger his/her life. If the engine is off, the temperature in the car will get too cold.
  3. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he/she comes in from outside. Check your dog’s sensitive paw pads, which may bleed from snow or ice encrusted in them. Also, salt, antifreeze or other chemicals could hurt your dog if he ingests them while licking his/her paws. Clip the fur between the toe pads to reduce the amount of snow that collects.
  4. Groom your dog regularly. A well-groomed coat will keep him/her properly insulated. For short-haired breeds, dogs sensitive to cold weather (older or sick dogs, puppies, etc.) consider getting a warm coat or sweater and booties. Get a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck that covers your dog from the base of his/her tail on top to the belly underneath. Remember that dogs lose most of their body heat from the pads of their feet, ears, and respiratory tract.
  5. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only long enough to relieve himself.
  6. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to house train during the winter. If necessary, paper train your puppy inside if he/she seems to be sensitive to cold weather.
  7. Feed you dog additional calories if he spends a lot of time outdoors. It takes more energy in winter to keep his body temperature regulated.
  8. Make sure your cat or dog has a warm place to sleep far away from all drafts and off the floor, such as in a bed or basket with a warm blanket or pillow in it.

                                    (City of Calgary, Animal and Bylaw Services)

Electrical Safety at Home

Electricity provides convenience and comfort, but contact with it can harm or kill you. To stay safe, follow these Electrical Safety Tips:

  1. Water conducts electricity. Do not use electrical appliances near water, even if you have ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets.
  2. Overloaded outlets and overheated cords and appliances are the third leading cause of house fires. Too many cords plugged into one outlet can lead to overloading. For more than two cords, use a power bar, not octopus outlets.
  3. Electrical cords need to be insulated with plastic to prevent you from getting shocked. If you have a cracked, frayed or broken cord, it is best to replace the connected appliance. For minor damage, electrical tape may be used.
  4. Appliances that are plugged in have electricity running through them, even when they are turned off. If you need to fix an appliance, unplug it first.
  5. Before hanging pictures, use a stud finder with an AC detector to tell you where live electrical wires are located in the walls.
  6. If your basement is flooded with water beneath the outlets, turn off the breakers for the area before addressing damage. If water is above the outlets, do not enter the area. Call the ENMAX Trouble line (403) 514-6100 to have your outside power meter shut off first.
  7. A licensed electrician is recommended to address electrical concerns you may have.
  8. If you do receive an electrical shock, visit you doctor. Electrical shocks can permanently interrupt normal heart rhythms if not treated.

Staying Safe At Home

Protect your home’s contents

 Everyone can help protect the contents of their homes from theft and make it easier for police to return stolen property to its rightful owner – it takes just a few precautions. The Calgary Police Service suggests the following easy tips:

  • Identify your valuables: Mark your valuables with some kind of identification. An engraving pen is often the most effective way to do this, because it’s easily visible to police – this makes returning stolen property to its owner a lot faster. A note of caution, however: NEVER use your Social Insurance Number to mark valuables, because the thief can then use the number to steal your personal identity.
  • Keep records: Record the serial number, make and model of all valuable items such as electronics.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words: Make a visual record of your home’s contents – you can use photographs, videotapes or digital recordings of valuable and of entire rooms.
  • Go off-site: Keep all of these records at a site away from your home, such as a safety deposit box. In case your home is broken into or there’s a disaster like a fire or flood, you’ll have excellent records to show police and your insurance company.
  • Be discreet: When you buy big-ticket items such as electronics, take the cardboard boxes to the recycling depot – don’t put them out on garbage day, because they advertise that you’ve just purchased something new and valuable.
  • Read the fine print: Check your insurance policy annually, to ensure that it covers the replacement cost of your home and its contents. Pay special attention to the exclusions for higher-value items such as jewellery, computers and sports equipment.
  • Protect your valuable: Keep your blinds or curtains closed at night so people can’t see what valuables are inside your house – otherwise, burglars can case your home and plan their crime.
  • Stay alert: Guard against crimes of opportunity; don’t leave items where they could be easily stolen. Leaving a garage door open could be an open invitation for thieves to steal items such as bicycles, lawn mowers or even cars from inside.

For more tips about crime prevention at home, work and play, visit the Calgary Police Service website at www.calgarypolice.ca