Parkland Ambulance offers advice around cold weather

Herald File Photo

With extreme cold warnings in the forecast on Tuesday and Wednesday and into the rest of the week Parkland Ambulance has a simple message for people regarding the best practices: stay inside.

Lyle Karasiuk, Director of Public Affairs with Parkland Ambulance, explained that it is best to stay indoors when the temperature hits 40 below with wind chills.

“When it’s really cold and you don’t have to go out, obviously, don’t go out,”’ Karasiuk said.

The week is expected to be cold until at least Sunday. It is also February break, meaning children are not in schools.

“If you have got kids at home you obviously want them outside and you want them to enjoy some activities, but when it is this cold they can’t be out long before they get frostbite,” Karasiuk explained. “that just leads to a whole host of other problems that you just don’t need.”

“If you haven’t already packed a bag and headed somewhere warm, I guess you are going to be spending a lot more time indoors doing puzzles and other indoor activities before it warms up,” he added.

If you do go outside, you have to take precautions and dress in layers.

“There are still people who will venture out on a snow machine or venture out to cross country ski, even in weather like it is today, because they are die hard activity people,” Karasiuk said.

“Wear some layers, face protection, toques, scarves, (and) watch for frostbite. It starts, obviously, as those little white blotches that will appear on exposed skin. But in this weather, it only takes a few minutes before you start to see them.”

The message according to Karasiuk is simple: stay inside if you can.

“If you found out the hard way, like some people did this morning, and forgot to plug in the vehicle you were probably waiting in line either for public transit, a taxi or for the tow truck because I am sure those folks are going to be busy all of this week as it is cold,” he said.

Karasiuk also advised people to be aware that some residents lack a safe shelter. He urged residents to watch for people taking shelters in business areas, such as ATM kiosks, and help them out if it’s safe.

“Try to get them some help, obviously if it is safe for you to approach them and you feel comfortable doing so,” he said. “Obviously, ask them if there is anything that you can do.”

Karasiuk said that shelters in the city are available to keep people safe. If they do not feel safe, but are still worried about a homeless resident’s safety, Karasiuk urged residents to call emergency services through 911.

“Let us help them so we can prevent them from hurting themselves through becoming very, very, cold and suffering some traumatic injuries and or, worst case, losing their life because of the cold weather,” he said.