From winter to spring: preparing for the weather transition

It’s a time of year many Canadians look forward to as the weather warms up, leaving behind the thought of heavy snow for another season. But while we look forward to the blossoming of spring, there are a few things to keep in mind that could affect you and your family.

Being prepared means thinking about the possibilities. Knowledge and planning do not cost anything but our own fears may prevent us from considering hazards and their impact.
  1. Know the risks in your community
  2. Have an emergency plan in place
  3. Prepare an emergency kit
This time of year, when temperatures climb out of the frozen zone, certain emergencies pose more of a threat, such as flooding and ice safety. Be ready for these risks.

How to prepare for flooding

Be prepared for spring with these tipsFlooding is the most frequent natural disaster in Canada and spring months increase the risk of flooding. Here’s what to do to prepare your home in case of flooding, as well as what to do in case a flooding does occur.
  • Know the flood risk in your community by calling your municipality and insurance company.
  • Monitor local weather and alerts
  • Protect your valuables in waterproof containers. Place them above potential water levels. 
  • Put sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors.
  • Talk with your family and neighbours about what you would do during a flood.
  • Have practice drills with your family, so you know what to do and are prepared.
 Know what to do during and after flooding as well.

How to be safe around ice

Changing air temperatures also affect ice thickness. While it is fun to skate on frozen ponds, be aware of ice stability prior to stepping on it.

The colour of ice may be an indication of its strength. Clear blue ice is strongest. White opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Opaque ice is formed by wet snow freezing on the ice. Grey ice is unsafe. The grayness indicates the presence of water.

Ice thickness should be:
  • 15 cm for walking or skating alone
  • 20 cm for skating parties or games
  • 25 cm for snowmobiles.
Check with local authorities before heading out. Avoid going out on ice at night. Learn more about ice safety.

Don’t spring so quickly

Be sure to plan accordingly so don’t jump into spring so quickly that it could increase risks, such as removing snow tires too early. Be aware of road conditions, such as black ice, and make sure you have an emergency kit for your car. Don’t have one? Read how to make an emergency kit for your car.

Be Ready

As a family, discuss what types of disasters are most likely to happen in your community, especially at this time of year. Call your local municipality and ask what types of hazards are common in your area and the emergency plans in place including shelters and evacuation routes.

Consider if you live alone or with a family; if you have children or people who need additional support due to health or mobility issues; if you live in a high rise, a basement apartment or a house.

All of these factors, and more, will influence what you need to know, how you plan and what you need in your preparedness kit.

For more tips on being ready for emergencies, visit

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