Community Home & Wellbeing Spotlight

Health-Saving Tips To Stay Warm, Dry And Safe This Winter

The City of Toronto has issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert as temperatures have fallen to -15°C and below; the city is also experiencing wind chills of -20°C and colder. This is expected to last several days as the area records some of its lowest temperatures in 59 years.

Tips To Stay Warm, Dry And Safe in Winter
A homeless man sleeps under an emergency blanket on Dundas St. as pedestrians brave the cold at Dundas Square, Toronto. (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Relief organizations such as The Salvation Army are operating fully to help the disadvantaged. The international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 is reporting that: In response to the Extreme Cold Weather Alert issued by the City of Toronto, The Salvation Army has opened all available emergency shelter beds in the downtown core. The Salvation Army is now at capacity with 616 shelter beds and temporary beds occupied. The Salvation Army is also providing 21 Winter Respite spots in Parkdale as part of the city’s Winter Response.
“The extremely cold temperatures as we know pose a significant risk to people on the streets,” said Major John P. Murray, spokesperson for The Salvation Army. “We continue to monitor the situation in an effort to keep our community’s homeless safe from the extreme cold.”
The Salvation Army has teams in the community checking on the vulnerable to make sure they are safe from the extreme elements. Teams provide transportation to Winter Respite, Warming Centres and Shelters.

The health department of the City of Toronto warns that exposure to extreme cold weather can be harmful to your health. And offers the following tips to help stay warm, dry, and healthy this winter:

1- Dress in Layers and Cover Exposed Skin

  • Cover as much exposed skin as possible. Frostbite can develop over a relatively short period of time during periods of extreme cold
  • Wear waterproof and windproof outer layers
  • Wear a hat
  • Choose warm mittens instead of gloves
  • Wear warm, waterproof boots
  • Choose wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers of clothing, these materials hold more body heat than cotton

2- Stay Dry

  • Avoid wearing wet clothing, as you are more likely to develop hypothermia if you are cold and wet
  • Change into dry clothing as soon as possible if you get wet from precipitation, sweat or submersion in water

3- Take Care when Outdoors

  • Check the weather report before going outside
  • Warm up by taking regular breaks in heated buildings such as libraries and malls
  • Reschedule outdoor activities and limit time outdoors if severe weather is forecast

4- Stay Active and Safe

  • Wear comfortable winter boots with a wide and low heel
  • Wear bright-coloured clothing in snowy weather
  • Notify friends or family where you will be when going on outdoor activities, such as hiking and skiing

Also remember to check on vulnerable family members, friends and neighbors during this cold period, especially people with pre-existing heart conditions or chronic respiratory illness, infants and young children, people on certain medications, people who work or do physical activities outside for extended periods, and people who are marginally housed or homeless.

With many parts of the world experiencing extreme cold weather, we hope you find Tips To Stay Warm, Dry And Safe This Winter helpful. And please do not forget to share.

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