Preparing for a Winter Storm

A determined frozen Caucasian male, all bundled up in a fur trappers hat, parka, scarf and gloves, wearing glasses and carrying a yellow snow shovel, covered in snow and frost from the driving snow of a blizzard, heads out to shovel snow.

If you live in Canada, chances are you’ve experienced extreme winter weather (certainly living up to its nickname as the Great White North).

However, many may be unprepared in the event of a winter storm; but not to fear, the Good Hands Advice team at Allstate Canada have prepared the following tips to help prepare for a winter storm.

During a Storm

  • Stay Informed – A battery-operated radio will help you to stay informed on weather developments.
  • Stay Indoors – It is recommended to stay safe and warm inside your home or appropriate shelter. Only travel outside, when it is safe and if you are able to do so, if necessary
  • Stay Warm – Dress warm and have a supply of blankets available for all members of the household. Dressing in layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a single bulky sweater.
  • Eat Regularly and Stay Hydrated – While managing food supplies, eating small portions regularly provides your body with the energy to produce its own heat and staying hydrated prevents dehydration. Alcohol and caffeine is not recommended as they can cause a loss of body heat, even in warm drinks.
  • Conserve Fuel – As winter storms can last a few days, conserving battery power, gas and other fuel (oil, propane, etc.) is important. Close-off unused rooms, stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors and cover windows at night helps prevent heat from escaping.
  • Check on Others – If safe to do so, check-in on relatives, neighbours and friends, if they are elderly or live alone.

After a Storm

  • Stay Informed – Continue to listen to local news and weather updates on current conditions and safety notices.
  • Stay Indoors – Avoid leaving or traveling outside of your home or shelter until conditions have improved.
  • Notify your Insurer – If you become aware of any damage to your home or vehicle because of the winter storm, contact your insurance company.

Before a Storm

  • Stay informed – Monitor your cell phone for alerts from the National Public Alerting System and check local news outlets or Environment Canada for weather event updates and warnings.
  • Secure Shelter – If you are home, identify local emergency shelters in case you lose power for a long period of time. If you are outside of your home, seek suitable shelter within a building as it is not recommended to stay in a vehicle to ride out a storm.
  • Emergency Preparedness Plan & Kit – Mapping out and going over an emergency plan with your family and household is a worthwhile exercise. The plan does not need to be extensive, but it should include information on what to do in an emergency situation, safe places to take refuge, escape routes, emergency contact numbers, as well as the location and use of emergency supplies and equipment. Your emergency kit can include items such as bottled water, non perishable items, medical supplies, blankets, flares and more.
  • Stock-up on Supplies – Depending on the nature and duration of the weather event, it is recommended that you have enough essential supplies to get you through a few hours or days of being without power and potentially without the option to leave your home or shelter. Refer to your emergency kit for the types of items needed.
  • Alternative Heating Sources – If your home has an additional heating source, such as a fireplace, wood-or coal-burning stove, or space heaters, maintain them to ensure they are in good working condition. The same applies for any back-up generators that you may have. Make sure to read manuals and understand how to safely use the heating sources.
  • Safeguard Animals – Provide suitable shelter for household pets and livestock, ensuring that they have access to food, water and blankets, if needed.

Our Claims team remains ready to support you. They can be reached through the following numbers:

Atlantic:
Toll free: 1.800.561.7222
Local: 506.859.7820

Alberta:
Toll free: 1.800.661.1577
Local: 403.974.8700

Ontario:
Toll free: 1.800.387.0462
Local: 905.477.5550

Quebec:
Toll free: 1.800.463.2813
Local: 514.351.5335

Disclaimer: This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice.