The Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de l’Outaouais provided certain prevention measures for the population during Winter storms. According to the organization, the events of a storm can cause several health and safety risks.
Here are a few precautionary tips for:
- Be careful when walking. Use traction aids such as crampons on your boots to avoid slipping on slippery surfaces and injuring yourself.
- Adjust your driving to road conditions, avoid sudden manœuvres and slow down. Go to the CAA-Québec website for more winter driving tips.
- Find out about road conditions before driving.
- Find out about the condition of relatives who live alone in geographically remote regions.
If you don’t need to go out, stay at home.
- Do warm-up exercises (flexion, extension of the lower back, stretches) before shoveling.
- Take breaks to rest your muscles and heart.
- Use the proper shoveling technique:
- place your feet shoulder width apart,
- when lifting snow, bend your knees and use your thigh muscles,
- avoid twisting and rotating your body,
- avoid lifting snow above a height of 4 feet (1.3 m).
- Avoid shoveling after eating. A full stomach can strain the heart during vigorous physical activity.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur:
- During a power outage: high risk if fuel-powered appliances are used indoors, such as back-up heating or lighting systems, gas generators, barbecues or camping stoves.
- If you are in a car with the engine running: high risk if the exhaust pipe is blocked by snow.
- Never use a barbecue or any other fuel-powered appliance indoors. If you have to use a generator, put it outside and far enough away from doors and windows to prevent exhaust gases from entering the home.
- Make sure the chimney outlet of your propane or wood-burning stove is clear of snow or ice. In houses that are said to be airtight (based on an airtightness test), wood-burning stoves should have an outdoor air intake to prevent backdrafting from the chimney or incomplete combustion.
- Put carbon monoxide detectors in the following places:
- on each floor,
- in the hallway that leads to bedrooms,
- in the room over the garage.
- Take the necessary precautions to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Have your heating system inspected and cleaned by a specialized technician once a year.
- Follow the instructions for using your back-up heating or lighting system.
- Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer door too often so that your food stays fresh for longer.
Anyone can suffer the consequences of winter storms and freezing rain. However, some people are more vulnerable:
- People who have risk factors for heart problems, such as obesity and smoking
- People with reduced mobility
- People who have a heart or cardio respiratory condition
- People who have chronic health problems
- People who have mental health problems
- People who lack personal resources (for example, people who are homeless or isolated)
For more information on winter health tips, visit Quebec.ca