Saskatoon and Regina are under extreme cold warnings this frigid Wednesday, as winter officially arrived.
That’s according to Environment Canada, who said the morning hit -45 with the wind chill in Saskatoon, warning that frostbite could set in within minutes.
Parts of the province were even colder than the North Pole, which was sitting at -29 C in comparison.
Troy Davies, director of public affairs for Medavie Health Services West, said the cold is oftentimes life-threatening.
“We’ve had two brutal – one in November and we’re going through one now – cold weather fronts that are in. And this is deadly weather, not just cold, it can be potentially life-threatening,” Davies said.
He said one person lost their life to the cold a couple of weeks ago.
Davies said the weather forces emergency workers to change their responses, noting that whether they get a call for a car collision or a slip and fall, it now becomes life-threatening with the cold weather.
He said paramedics try and stay warm when they can, but noted that they run into problems like frozen IV lines, or trying to put on a spine board while wearing gloves.
“It’s challenging, especially if they’re in a ditch where the car’s rolled over where something might happen.”
He said they’ve had a few hypothermia calls, but noted the cold wellness program in the city is helpful, and said places like the Emergency Wellness Centre in Saskatoon helps keep people warm.
Davies said going into the holiday season he hopes people going out and celebrating have a plan for a ride home.
“Whether it be Uber, taxi, whatever it might be, you don’t want to go outside and not have a ride and all of a sudden the establishment closes and you’re caught outside.”