When the manager of the Oak Bay Emergency program talks winter, she starts with the usual preparations. Know the risks, have a plan, build your kits and know your neighbours, says Eileen Grant.
Now is the time to get what you need to ensure a safe and warm winter.
The provincial mandate for winter tires on some highways as of Oct. 1 serves as a good reminder to shift gears into winter. Get those tires changed, perhaps a check-up and always keep the fuel above half full, Grant said. “You never know when you’ll have to use your car for transportation or shelter or for how long.”
While the region isn’t privy to copious amounts of snow, it does land, and sometimes accumulates. Have a snow removal plan, Grant said. Have a good snow shovel and a supply of de-ice in hand before the cold weather arrives.
If you don’t want to do the shovelling, talk to your gardener and teenage neighbours about being on call to clear your sidewalks and pathways when it snows. It is hard to find someone once the snow starts falling.
Greater Victoria is prone to windstorms, some significant, and being ready for a power outage or trees down is crucial. Plan in advance to avoid going out in crowds or on icy roads and walkways. Have a supply of necessary medications, keep cellphones or laptops charged.
“Check your battery flashlights are working, have battery-operated lights at the ready. Please don’t use candles,” Grant said.
Have a supply of blankets or sleeping bags on hand to keep warm; food that doesn’t require cooking; and plenty of water.
Grab and go kits for the entire family – including pets – should contain food, water, medication, prescription glasses and other basics such as a whistle, blanket, extra home and vehicle keys and flashlights.
Anyone with pets should consider a grab and go and a shelter in place kit for that family member as well.
Finally, introduce yourself to your neighbours and share your plans with them.
“Research shows that it is our neighbours who are our lifelines when there is an emergency,” Grant said.
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