February 26th, 2024

City offers tips for taking the bite out of the cold


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on January 11, 2024.

Herald photo by Steffanie Costigan A group of people stand outside the shelter on Wednesday. With temperatures forecast to grow colder over the next few days, the City is providing tips for residents to stay safe and warm.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

With a drastic change in weather conditions and colder temperatures forecast for the next few days, the City of Lethbridge is providing tips for residents to stay safe and warm.

Deputy Fire Chief Kevin McKeown spoke to reporters Wednesday afternoon and said they want to make sure residents are prepared for the dropping temperatures.

“Make sure that if you are outside, you’re dressing up in multiple layers. Due to the wind it’s a good idea to have some windproof gear as well to help keep you a little bit warm and protected, as we’re going to see some wind chills down into the -40 and lower,” said McKeown.

 He said in addition to that, people should limit their time outside if they are able to do so, and make sure to take breaks from the weather by moving indoors to warm up.

 “If you’ve been outside for some time, it’s always nice to have some warm beverages if you can like hot chocolate, tea or whatever you’re into. But keep in mind to limit caffeine, as with the cold weather caffeine can actually increase your risk of dehydration,” said McKeown.

 He said one of the great risks cold temperatures can pose to residents is frostbite with windchills of -40 degrees Celsius expected here.

 “Frostbite can happen very quickly. We’re looking at 10 minutes or less on exposed skin. So it’s very important that you are layering up, that you’re having your toque on, wearing your gloves and covering any exposed skin,” said McKeown.

When it comes to measures the City is taking to help those with no access to shelter, McKeown said it is reviewing their extreme temperature response policy.

 “Within that policy the Community Social Development team reaches out to our external stakeholders and touches base with Alberta Health Services and other agencies that are responsible for dealing with our most vulnerable population,” said McKeown.

 He said the City of Lethbridge is always going assist partner agencies to ensure people have somewhere warm to go.

 “A good piece of advice for those that don’t have anywhere to go to, we do have our public buildings that are open if you need to get out of the cold and into somewhere indoors,” said McKeown.

 He said public places open during business hours such as the public library or Park Place Mall are options for those looking for a place to keep warm during the day to avoid health risks such as frostbite.

People will also be looking for ways to stay warm even while indoors, and McKeown is reminding residents to take precautions to avoid fires from space heaters, candles and other sources of warmth.

“Make sure that there’s no combustible material close to your ignition sources, around heaters or open flames from candles,” said McKeown.

Even though the temperatures will be dropping significantly, residents are asked to stay away from lakes as they are not safe yet.

“Lake ice within the City of Lethbridge is still not safe to go on. It has not been cold enough for long enough for that ice to form and to solidify, and to be safe for people to go on. So, please don’t venture out onto any lakes in the city of Lethbridge,” said McKeown.

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