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Western Blog

Spotlight on Safety

December 13, 2012

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So…you are off to Camp! Be Prepared!

Winter travel and weather can be severe, so be prepared!

Winter weather conditions in Canada can quickly become dangerous, often with little or no warning. Winter storms and excessive cold claim over 100 lives each year in this country – that is more than combined number of deaths caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, extreme heat and lightning each year in this country.

Dress for the Season

Wear loose, lightweight, warm clothes in layers. Trapped air insulates. Remove layers to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded. Wear a hat. Half of your body heat loss can be from your head. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold. Mittens, snug at the wrist are better than gloves. Wear appropriate winter boots and stay dry!

Hypothermia & Frostbite

When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won’t be able to do anything about it. Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40 degrees F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.

Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and colour in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation. The risk of frostbite is for extremely cold temperatures.

At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin – frostbite may be beginning. Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:

  • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
  • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
  • numbness

A victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb.

It might be nice at home but remember weather conditions can be a lot different where our camps are situated. Bring appropriate outerwear when heading to camp!

Don’t forget Canada’s North and our remote regions!!

Charles Hallett, BEH, C.P.H.I.(C)

HSE Coordinator

Posted in: Safety (HSE)