Lethbridge Herald

Be prepared for the worst during cold snap

- Dave Mabell LETHBRIDGE HERALD dmabell@lethbridge­herald.com

When winter arrives, many Albertans take an emergency kit with them on the highway.

But in weather like this, Luke Palmer urges Lethbridge residents to maintain an emergency kit at home as well.

If there’s a power failure — or if a water line freezes — he says families in the city should be able to remain self-sustaining for 72 hours.

But Palmer, the City’s emergency preparatio­n manager, says shelters will be opened for residents forced to leave their home for a longer period. When there’s an extended power failure, for example, homes may cool down quickly since most furnaces need power to circulate the hot air.

Water may be the most urgent need. Palmer advises families to have two litres per day on hand for each person.

A variety of canned food can also help families stay in their home longer, if they have a back-up generator or another way to heat their home. Soups, stews and vegetables may be readily heated when highways are impassible and stores are running low.

For the younger generation, he adds, there’s a basic tool required.

When he was putting together an emergency supply, Palmer says — he couldn’t find a can opener in his home!

An emergency kit should also include warm clothing items, prescribed medication­s, spare sets of keys and other must-have items, he says. A detailed list for a 72-hour kit is posted on the City of Lethbridge website under “Living Here,” then clicking “Emergency Services” and “Emergency Preparedne­ss.”

Families with young children or pets are reminded to consider their needs as well.

In the event evacuation to an emergency centre is required, Palmer adds, taking books to read, cards or games to play can reduce stress and boredom. He says officials have designated the two seniors’ centres as well as the ATB Centre, the Enmax Centre and the adjacent Soccer Centre as evacuation facilities. Palmer says buildings in Exhibition Park would be used to accommodat­e pets temporaril­y.

At all times of year, Palmer says, city residents should be aware of what other risks they face, which might require evacuation. In Lethbridge, he points out, the major risk factors include severe winds, grass fires and train derailment­s involving volatile or toxic chemicals.

 ?? Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHe­rald ?? A City of Lethbridge snow plow makes its way down Scenic Drive South as it clears the edge of a lane earlier this past week. Bitterly cold temperatur­es and an extreme cold warning are in the forecast through Thursday.
Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHe­rald A City of Lethbridge snow plow makes its way down Scenic Drive South as it clears the edge of a lane earlier this past week. Bitterly cold temperatur­es and an extreme cold warning are in the forecast through Thursday.

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