Majority of Canadians unprepared for a winter emergency: poll

A man walks down the middle of Agricola Street in Halifax as a major winter storm blasts the Maritimes on Feb. 13, 2017. The Canadian Press/Darren Calabrese

Are you ready if a snowstorm hits? Or if an ice storm cuts off power to your home for an extended period of time?

Most of us aren’t, a new poll from RSA Insurance warns. The poll surveyed 1,000 Canadians using Google surveys and has an error of +/- 4.3 per cent.

READ MORE: White Christmas expected in most of Canada

That’s worrisome, says Anthony Black, National Catastrophe Manager at RSA Canada, especially with the unpredictability of the climate.

“Most people will change to winter tires and get their snow brushes out, but very few think about what they’ll do in case of an emergency situation,” Black said in a release.

“Canadians can’t be risk takers when it comes to our northern climate.”

Story continues below advertisement

This winter is expected to be a typical Canadian winter, which means we could be facing extreme storms and cold spells across the country.

Despite warnings, 57 per cent of respondents said they haven’t prepared for any winter emergency.

READ MORE: Winter weather forecast: What Canadians can expect from coast to coast

Only 12 per cent said they had an emergency kit with supplies for three days.

Only 30 per cent said they were ready in case of a snow storm or heavy snowfall. And just one quarter said they were ready for a power outage or black out.

Most respondents (28 per cent) said the reason they haven’t prepared was because it’s “just not a priority,” while 22 per cent of them said they didn’t think they’d be affected by winter emergencies.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: From wildfires to flooding, here are the top 10 Canadian weather stories of 2017

Out of those who have experienced a winter emergency, 60 per cent of respondents said they wish they’d stocked up on food, batteries and blankets, while 20 per cent said they wish they’d stocked up on shovels and other snow-related items.

Around 13 per cent of respondents said they didn’t know what to put in an emergency kit, which is one of the major tips the Red Cross has for Canadians.

The Red Cross offers tips for what should be in your emergency kit here.

Along with non-perishable food and water, you should have a flashlight, a radio and a first aid kit, along with special needs items like prescription drugs. A manual can opener is also recommended.

Officials say you should have enough food for three days.

On a personal note, you should make copies of priceless photographs and documents.

Winter vehicle insurance tips

Along with emergency preparedness, RSA Canada offered tips for winter road safety.

  1. Repair windshield cracks – since temperature changes cause glass to become more fragile, small chips in your windshield get repaired promptly.
  2. Winter tires – along with the safety benefits (better traction, reduced stopping times), many insurance companies offer discounts if you get winter tires.
  3. Winter windshield wipers and rain repellent glass – both make cleaning your windshield easier.
  4. Last but not least, drive carefully and slowly according to conditions.

Sponsored content