The Saskatoon Fire Department announced the extreme cold weather response was activated to a Level 2 on Sunday.
“This is not out of the ordinary for Saskatchewan for the end of January and the beginning of February, people shouldn’t be complaining, however, these wind-chill values will be going into dangerous categories,” said Terri Lang with Environment Canada.
Pamela Goulden-McLeod, director of emergency management for the fire department and the city, said they have been preparing for the cold weather response since last week.
“Our outreach task force is extremely active during extreme cold weather,” said McLeod.
“When we enact an emergency response plan, we need our whole community to pull together. We are asking residents to go to the city social media to reshare the information about the warming locations.”
The Saskatoon Fire Department and City of Saskatoon released several daytime warm-up locations that can be found across the city for homeless individuals and families.
“Limit the time outdoors. With wind chills this high, it can result in very quickly setting in frostbite as well as hypothermia,” Lang said.
The Emergency Wellness Centre and Prairie Harm Reduction are the only locations open overnight.
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“At the start of the year, we didn’t have the overnight warming shelters and that was a real concern,” said McLeod. “The outreach teams are such a critical factor. They are out there checking on people, I feel like we are in a really good spot as a community working together.”
She claimed that both overnight locations are enough for people in need to stay warm through the week.
“The arctic air is going to be here at least until the end of the week,” said Lang. “We will see a system ripple through on Wednesday bringing just a dusting of snow, but the cloud acts like a little bit of a blanket so we will see a little bit of a warm-up.”
She said Thursday is likely to be the coldest morning this week and reminded travellers to dress appropriately and always keep emergency kits in vehicles.
“It’s not out of the ordinary, but we have newcomers, we have homeless, we have people that have to be kept in mind because they are not used to the cold like we are.”
The cold weather alert will remain active until Feb. 3.