Parkland Ambulance offers tips around the cold

A Parkland Ambulance Care Ltd. paramedic watches for pedestrians while answering a call in Prince Albert. -- Herald file photo.

With extreme cold warnings blanketing the province including Prince Albert and area Parkland Ambulance wants people to stay safe.

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

Karasiuk said the unseasonably warm winter before the last week meant some residents were unprepared for the recent cold streak.

“We’ve been complacent,” he said. “It hasn’t been cold throughout our winter.”

Karasiuk said that if you do travel anywhere, make sure you have a plan and if you are stranded by the side of the road stay with your vehicle.

“Pack along the blankets, pack along the extra shovels, the high-energy snacks and snow boots,” he said.
He advised people not think that something cannot go wrong with a vehicle.

“Things happen,” he said. “Things break down. Road conditions are bad. Check road conditions.”

When traveling three or four hours away, Karasiuk said, let people know what route you are taking.

“We’ve got a starting point to go get help,” he explained.

With some snow on the ground snowmobile enthusiasts are also wanting to get out and Karasiuk encouraged them to have a plan as well. This includes items such as satellite phones or fully charged cellular phones and to travel in pairs.

“Have a pack of dry matches that you can build a fire or small hatchet and then stay with your stuff.”

Karasiuk had a similar message for skiers and backcountry hikers to travel in pairs.

“Know where you are. If you get lost, stay where you are. Build a fire if you have the resources. Plan to have those resources with you.

“Something breaks down, you get injured, send someone to get help,” he said. “Don’t try to get somewhere where you’re unfamiliar with the terrain…. If you become disorientated or lost, stay where you are or follow back your tracks.”

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

“Dress for the weather. You need your toques, your gloves, your face protection, that sort of stuff,” Karasiuk said.

“It’s cold, it’s winter, it’s Saskatchewan, dress for the weather and again stay indoors,” he added.

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

He also said to look out for people who you are aware could use assistance such as an elderly neighbour.

“Please do them a favour and reach out. If you can connect with some of our social agencies that can support them as well, so that people just don’t succumb to the elements, especially when it’s brutally cold,” Karasiuk 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.

Karasiuk said that shelters in the city are available such as Stepping Stones and the Salvation Army offering a warming station around their lunchtime 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.

“If it’s safe and you feel comfortable, please stop and offer some help. If you’re not, please do them a favour and call 911 or some emergency number in your local area to get them some help,” he said.

He said if people do not have a place to stay try to find a way to get them off of the street because there are resources available.

“There’s no need for people to suffer and there’s no tragedies that need to happen when it’s this brutally cold or at any time during the winter,” he said. “We have the means to do that, so let’s help our neighbours and friends.

“Invest in the needs that you have and stay safe and keep warm Saskatchewan and certainly Prince Albert an area.”