Snow Safety

The Drumheller Mail - - CLASSIFIEDS - This vital in­for­ma­tion can help search and res­cue vol­un­teers, in case of an emer­gency. Source:­

This month the Of­fice of the Fire Com­mis­sioner is fo­cussed on win­ter safety, re­mind­ing Al­ber­tans to stay safe in snow, icy and re­mote ar­eas.

Have fun out there whilst you stay safe.

The Of­fice of the Fire Com­mis­sioner, as the co­or­di­nat­ing body of Search and Res­cue ini­tia­tives in Al­berta, is a proud sup­porter of Ad­ven­tureS­mart. That’s why this Jan­uary we’re fo­cus­ing on the im­por­tance of snow safety. Be­fore you head out this win­ter in search of ex­cit­ing snow ad­ven­tures across Al­berta, be sure you are well pre­pared for the po­ten­tial dan­gers that come with play­ing in snowy, icy and re­mote ar­eas.

1. Have the right gear.

- Dress in lay­ers to help reg­u­late body tem­per­a­ture. - Keep your head, ears and hands cov­ered to avoid frost­bite. - Wear your hel­met, es­pe­cially when ski­ing, skat­ing, snow­board­ing, and snow­mo­bil­ing.

2. Be avalanche aware.

- Know the avalanche dan­gers in your area. - Check avalanche bul­letins be­fore head­ing out. - Carry and prac­tice with an avalanche bea- con, probe and shovel. - Avalanches in­volv­ing peo­ple don’t oc­cur ran­domly. Over 90 per cent of the time, the vic­tims or some­one in their group trig­gers the snow slide. Be avalanche aware in Al­berta, and when vis­it­ing other ar­eas, such as BC’s back­coun­try.

3. Respect bound­aries.

- Go­ing out-of-bounds is ex­tremely danger­ous. You not only en­dan­ger your life, but also the lives of search and res­cue vol­un­teers.

4. Ski and snow­board re­spon­si­bly.

- Know and fol­low the Alpine Re­spon­si­bil­ity Code. If a run is closed, respect the sig­nage and never ski out of bounds.

5. Snow­mo­bile safely.

- Keep your speed slow enough to stay in con­trol of your snow­mo­bile. - Al­co­hol use is a lead­ing cause of snow­mo­bil­ing-re­lated fa­tal­i­ties. - Respect closed ar­eas. - En­sure you’re prop­erly trained and equipped to sur­vive a night out­side.

6. Test the ice.

- Check ice thick­ness be­fore head­ing out. - Al­ways stay off ice that is 7cm (3 in) or less. - The min­i­mum ice depth for ice fish­ing, walk­ing, and cross coun­try ski­ing is 10cm (4 in). - The min­i­mum ice depth for one snow­mo­bile or ATV is 12cm (5 in).

7. If you break through the ice, know what to do.

- Don’t panic. Your cloth­ing will trap air and keep you buoy­ant. - Turn to­wards the di­rec­tion you came from and place your hands and arms flat on the un­bro­ken sur­face. - Kick your feet and try to push your­self up on top of the un­bro­ken ice on your stom­ach, like a seal. - Once you are ly­ing on the ice, don’t stand up. Roll away from the break un­til you are on solid ice.

8. Leave a trip plan.

- Your trip plan ex­plains your des­ti­na­tion, travel route, equip­ment, and ex­pected re­turn time.

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