By Erin Hebert, Canadian Red Cross Digital Volunteer

As the colourful autumn leaves fall from the trees, it’s a reminder that another cold Canadian winter is well on its way. The transition from fall to winter comes with its own unique risks and hazards every Canadian should be aware of. Pour yourself a hot beverage and read the following tips to stay safe during this transition season.
 Photo of fall landscape with ice patches
Weather in-between fall and winter can be unpredictable. In just a short amount of time, snow, fog, ice, hail or rain can appear and cause dangerous conditions. The good news is, what we can’t control, we can plan for. The first step is to know the risks in your community including the most common types of disasters and weather hazards. If you’re unsure, call your local municipality to ask what types of hazards are likely to occur. Having this information will help you to begin making plans to keep you and your family safe in the event of an emergency.
 
With dropping temperatures, bodies of water like lakes, rivers, and ponds will begin to freeze. Before tying up your skates or getting the snowmobile out, there are dangers you should know. In between fall and winter, ice is still thin. Wait until ice is at least 15 cm for walking or skating, 20 cm for skating parties or games, 25 cm for snowmobiling. Always check with local authorities before heading out.
 
It’s important to remember that ice isn’t just a hazard on bodies of water. Ice patches can show up just about anywhere including driveways, sidewalks and roads. This can make for slippery conditions when walking or driving. Before heading out on the road, check local conditions and  prepare your car for winter weather. This includes putting a full set of winter tires on your car, keeping it stocked with emergency supplies and an ice scraper. It’s time to reduce your speed when driving and get into the habit of giving yourself extra time to travel to your destination.
 
Even if there’s no ice on your route, it’s still A foggy roadpossible to run into other equally dangerous conditions that appear at this time of year, like fog. If you happen to run into fog while driving, leave extra space between you and the car in front of you, keep your lights on low beam mode and follow the right side line of the road to guide you. Whether you’re driving in fog, hail, ice, or rain, if you can’t see, always pull over and wait until conditions clear to continue driving.
 
With the unpredictability of weather during the changing seasons, it’s possible for a power outage to occur. Power outages can last a few hours or days. The best way to protect yourself and your family in the event of a power outage is to have an emergency plan prepared ahead of time. Make sure you have 72 hours of emergency supplies on hand and never use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment or home generators indoors because they give off carbon monoxide. Nobody knows your family’s needs better than you, so having a well thought out plan in place will help to make a power outage easier on everyone.
 
With the right planning, you’ll have everything you need to deal with the unpredictability of weather in-between seasons.

 

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