Muskoka To-DAILY

Towns in Muskoka offer tips and daytime shelter for residents during cold alert

MUSKOKA — With a couple more days of frigid temperatures in the minus 20 to 30 range, towns and townships in Muskoka continue offer daytime shelter from the cold — along with tips on how to survive the first major Arctic blast of 2018.

The Barnes family have been waiting for the cold since before Christmas as they got their rink ready for shinny players on the Beach Road in Gravenhurst.

The Barnes family have been waiting for the cold since before Christmas as they got their rink ready for shinny players on the Beach Road in Gravenhurst.

The cold will stick around until at least Sunday, when the daytime high is expected to still be a cold minus 10 and minus 11 at night; then 1 degree and minus 8 Monday.
Next week some more cold returns, but not as bad as this week.
Meanwhile, in Gravenurst you have options.
With another extreme cold warning been issued by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Gravenhurs has designated three “comfort stations” — locations where you can go to get out of the cold during the day.
These locations will be open as places of comfort and warmth during regular hours of operation.
• The Centennial Centre/Graeme Murray Arena – 101 Centennial Drive – until 11:30 p.m.
• Gravenhurst Public Library – 180 Sharpe St.W – until 8 p.m.
• Gravenhurst Municipal Office – 3-5 Pineridge Gate – until 4:30 p.m.

cold alert logo“We want residents to know that they have warm, safe places to go to escape from the cold when an alert is issued,” said Candace Thwaites, Gravenhurst community emergency management coordinator. “We have been in touch with community service providers to inform them of the Town’s warming centres as they deal firsthand with the people who may be most vulnerable.”
For additional information on Extreme Cold Weather and preventative actions please visit the Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit www.simcoemuskokahealth.org EXTREME COLD SAFETY TIPS
Up in Huntsville they remind residents to limit their exposure to the elements and remember that the Canada Summit Centre located at 20 Park Drive is open 6 a.m. to midnight and everyone is welcome to come in out of the cold.
They also remind people who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness are encouraged to contact the District of Muskoka at 705-645-2412 for resources available during extreme cold weather events.
Residents can visit Huntsville.ca, as well as follow local media channels for cold weather updates.
And in Bracebridge, they remind residents and visitors that that if you are suffering from the cold, the town has designated the following warming centres for your relief and safety:
— Municipal Office 1000 Taylor Court Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Bracebridge Sportsplex 110 Clearbrook Trail Monday to Friday: 6:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday: 8:15 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Bracebridge Public Library 94 Manitoba Street, Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
“We want our residents to know that they have warm, safe places to go to escape from the cold when an alert is issued,” says Mayor Graydon Smith.
“We have been in touch with community service providers to inform them of the town’s Warming Centres as they deal first-hand with the people who may be most vulnerable.”
The Salvation Army will also make their resources available to those requiring assistance during extreme cold events.
Anyone can be affected by extreme cold-related weather conditions, depending on length of time of exposure to cold and exertion levels.
Those especially at risk include: older adults (over the age of 65), infants and young children, outdoor workers, sport enthusiasts (hikers, skiers), homeless persons, and/or those lacking shelter, proper clothing or food. During extreme cold weather, residents are encouraged to call or visit friends and neighbours who may be at risk and keep pets inside.
The Town of Bracebridge advises that to keep yourself, your family and your home safe, you should know how to prevent cold-related health injuries and be prepared if there is a cold weather emergency.
For more information, please visit www.simcoemuskokahealth.org or www.getprepared.gc.ca.

Extreme Cold:
When winter weather drops to very low temperatures, staying warm and safe can become a challenge. Exposures to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause serious or life-threatening health problems. During extreme cold, those most at risk include:
Infants under one year of age.
Individuals 65 years of age or older.
The homeless.
Outdoor workers.
Sport enthusiasts (skiers, ice skaters).

People living in homes that are poorly insulated or without heat, and people living in homes without power (usually due to other weather-related events such as a winter storm).
It’s important to know what to do if the power goes out during times of extreme cold.

When the power goes off…
Below is a list of resources to help keep you and your family safe during this extreme cold event.
Cold Weather: Indoor Safety
Cold Weather: Outdoor Safety
Conditions and Symptoms

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
– Extreme Cold Fact sheet

Extreme cold events occur when winter temperatures drop significantly below average for that time of the year. Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause other serious or life-threatening health problems. To keep yourself and your family safe, you should know how to prevent cold-related health problems and what to do if a cold-weather health emergency arises.
Are You at Risk?
During extreme cold weather, everyone is at risk, but some groups are more vulnerable than others. They include :
Infants (under 1 year)
People 65 years of age or older
Homeless People
Outdoor workers
Sport enthusiasts (skiers, ice skaters)
People living in homes that are poorly insulated or without heat
People living in homes without power (usually due to other weather-related events such as a winter storm).
Health Risks of Extreme Cold : Know When to Get Help
Adverse health effects can occur as a direct result of exposure to excessive cold:
Hypothermia : Symptoms/signs include: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling/uncoordinated movements, memory loss, slurred speech, drowsiness.
Frostbite : Symptoms/signs include white/grayish skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, or numbness.
Increases in other health problems can also be seen, especially for those with other chronic medical conditions such as heart conditions.
Consult a healthcare provider or call Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000 or TTY at 1-877-797-0007) if you experience any of the above symptoms.

Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself
Prepare for extreme cold events every winter—it’s always a possibility in Ontario. There are numerous steps you can take both before and during this type of event :
Stay in heated buildings as much as possible (your home, friend or family’s place, public buildings such as malls, libraries, etc)
Drink warm fluids but avoid caffeinated or alcoholised beverages, as they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.
Dress appropriately when going outside (multiple layers of loose fitting clothes, toques, mittens, etc) and cover up all exposed skin since, in extreme cold, frostbite can occur within minutes.
Avoid strenuous exercise while out in the cold as much as possible.
Know the weather forecast, and avoid travelling when extreme weather is predicted.

Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself
At Home:

Have alternate means of heating with sufficient fuel, such as a wood or propane furnace, or a kerosene heater. Ensure alternative source of heat is approved for indoor use
Generator with several days’ worth of fuel (Caution: generators produce toxic gases such as carbon monoxide. These should only be used outdoors where fumes may be vented safely.)
Electric space heaters with automatic shut-off and non-glowing elements (to reduce the risk of fire)
Blankets

In the Car:
Travel with a mobile phone
Blankets and other warm clothing (gloves, toques, jacket) – never rely on a car for heat since it may break down
First aid kit
Signalling device, such as road flares
Booster cables
Toolkit
Bag of sand (to pour on ice or snow for added traction)
Tow rope
Collapsible shovel
Flash light and spare batteries
Candles and matches
Brightly coloured clothes
Container of water and high energy bars
Windshield scraper

Useful Cold-Related Links :
Canadian Red Cross
U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
Federal Emergency Management Agency

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