Extreme cold injuries: Dozens of Albertans suffer falls and frostbite so far in 2022

Click to play video: 'Shelters trying to help Edmonton’s most vulnerable stave off the cold'
Shelters trying to help Edmonton’s most vulnerable stave off the cold
WATCH (Dec. 29): While they’re operating at maximum capacity, two of Edmonton’s shelter providers are doing their best to keep the homeless population safe and warm in this cold snap. Sarah Ryan reports – Dec 29, 2021

So far in 2022, emergency responders have been called to 95 cases of falls, Alberta Health Services said.

The majority of those falls are on ice or snow.

Since the beginning of the year, 15 patients have been treated at the University of Alberta emergency department for signs of frostbite.

AHS warns that with more extreme cold weather in the forecast, it’s important to dress warmly, walk with caution around any icy patches, and carry a roadside kit in your vehicle if you’re driving.

Click to play video: 'Walk like a penguin'
Walk like a penguin

On Dec. 28, when much of Alberta was previously under an extreme cold warning, calls to AMA went up 800 per cent.

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The wait for a tow with AMA was more than three days: 77 hours. The wait for a battery boost was an estimated 40 hours.

While the extremely cold conditions can be physically challenging, they can also be mentally tough.

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The Hope Mission still has room in its Edmonton shelter, but community liaison Lauren Reid said the extreme cold creates additional stress on clients and staff.

“It’s also negatively affecting the mental health of our community members,” Lauren Reid said.

“Many of our community members already struggle with different mental health issues and the extreme cold makes their experiences so much harsher. It’s so much harder to just get by, day to day, being in those extreme temperatures.”

Any amount of time outside in these temperatures is unpleasant, Reid said, and without a vehicle, some people have to walk from facility to facility in the cold.

“It is very hard on them,” Reid said.

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Click to play video: 'What to wear outside during Edmonton’s cold snap'
What to wear outside during Edmonton’s cold snap

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