The Saskatoon Emergency Management Organization (EMO) has some helpful tips during a period of extremely cold temperatures.
A cold weather strategy has been in place since Jan. 8 to ensure everyone sleeps in a safe place during extremely cold nights in the city.
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“I think during this extreme cold period, everybody’s on a heightened alert and heightened situational awareness,” EMO’s director of emergency planning, Pamela Goulden-McLeod, said Tuesday.
“This is a good time for us all to pull together and to watch out for each other. And if you see anybody in distress, please let emergency response know and we want to make sure everyone’s safe.”
The extreme cold places everyone at high risk for potential frostbite and hypothermia. EMO said some of the most vulnerable are those with limited housing options, seniors, young children and people with chronic illnesses.
“We’re concerned about our vulnerable population… Our partner agencies and our shelters here in Saskatoon are far more alerted to concerns and they are making people aware of the warming locations,” Goulden-McLeod said.
“We have several warming locations throughout the city and then we want to ensure that everybody in the city of Saskatoon has a safe and warm place to sleep overnight.”
The homeless can warm up at 11 locations in Saskatoon.
“Saskatoon and Saskatchewan are really good about looking out for each other and so we want people to be checking on their neighbours, their friends, their relatives to make sure they’re doing OK,” Goulden-McLeod said.
“If you’re concerned about somebody’s safety, you can definitely call our emergency services for assistance. We’d also like everything to be signed up for notifynow, which is our emergency mass notification system.
“So if there was something that impacted and we were concerned about safety, we could definitely get that information out to everyone.”
EMO said it’s a good idea to have a 72-hour emergency kit ready.
“Be prepared for any reason. So we always want everybody to have their own 72-hour plan,” Goulden-McLeod said.
“How are you looking after yourself for 72 hours if for some reason you don’t have services? And so do you have blankets in this kit? Do you have water? Do you have some food? Do you have a can opener? Do you have what you need for your pets? So some pet food and water for your pets. Do you have important documents? Those kind of things.”
EMO is also reminding people about Saskatoon Transit’s SafeBus program. Anyone who is lost, cold, scared or hurt can hold up their hand, palm out, in the direction of an approaching city bus and the transit operator will stop, contact emergency services and provide shelter to the next terminal.
For the latest conditions and warnings, download the SkyTracker weather app.