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Protect Yourself During Extremely Cold Weather

Mar 5, 2019

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Working in cold conditions isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. Frostbite, numbness, dehydration and hypothermia are real concerns from chilly outdoor weather. If you’re working outdoors or travelling on Saskatchewan highways this winter, be aware of the dangers and stay safe. There are a number of tips and things you can do to ensure that you and your family are safe in cold weather:

1. Stay hydrated and well nourished
Make sure to drink enough fluids, as you dehydrate faster in cold weather conditions. Dehydration causes headaches, dizziness and fatigue, and it’s important to stay alert outdoors. Eating enough food during the day, especially fats and carbohydrates, is also important. Your body uses those nutrients as energy to stay warm in cold temperatures.

2. Stay well rested
Working outdoors or traveling in extremely cold weather, make sure you get as much rest as possible. This will enable you to stay alert on the job or behind the wheel when conditions are more dangerous.

3. Plan breaks from the cold
Just like you need to take breaks from your work throughout the day, your body needs to take breaks from the cold. It is always preferable to plan warm-up times throughout the day, if you are outside for long stretches, to avoid numbness and shivers.

4. Stay dry
Damp clothing can quickly drop your body temperature. It’s always important to stay dry in the cold. Wear a moisture-wicking base layer to draw away sweat as you work. Wear waterproof gear as an outer shell to prevent your under layers from getting wet. This is especially important if you are out or working in snow, shoveling. Once you are able and in a warmer environment, remove any wet clothing immediately.

5. Dress for the conditions
Dressing in layers is critically important. Wear loose layers of clothing as the air between the layers will help keep you warm. Layering also allows you to adjust to changing temperatures. Proper gloves, socks and footwear are essential. Choose headwear that keeps your head and ears warm. Balaclavas can also help to warm your neck and the air you’re breathing.

6. Keep a cold weather safety kit
If you’re on the road, make sure to take a cold weather safety kit. Each of the Gabriel Dumont Institute offices has been supplied with a Survival kit that is available for staff who needs to travel for Institute business. The cold weather kits include emergency blankets, candles, and matches. A candle burning in a vehicle could provide enough warmth to ward off hypothermia for a period of time.

Before you work outdoors or travel in cold weather conditions, make sure that you’re well prepared. Be aware of the dangers of exposure, and follow these tips to make safe choices.
Be safe out there!!

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

GDI is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment and cultural institute serving Métis across the province

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