THUNDER BAY – LIVING – With continued periods of significant cold and snowfall warnings occurring over the last several weeks, the City of Thunder Bay and community partners remain at a heightened activation of the COVID-19 Severe Weather Plan. The alert was first issued due to heavy snowfall in late December.
Due to the increased risks for individuals experiencing homelessness, the City is reminding the public that shelters and warming services continue to be available. These include two 24-hour emergency shelters – Salvation Army and Shelter House, the Out of the Cold Program at Grace Place, and the Warming Centres at PACE and Elevate NWO.
During cold weather and times of heavy snowfall, residents are encouraged to check in with vulnerable friends, neighbours and family to ensure they are not experiencing any difficulties related to the weather. Populations at greater risk include: infants and children, elderly, people with chronic conditions (i.e. heart diseases, respiratory diseases, or asthma), outdoor workers, sports enthusiasts, and people lacking proper shelter, clothing or food.
Residents can take precautions to prevent cold related-injury by:
- Dressing in layers of warm clothing
- Covering hands, feet and head with a hat, scarf, insulated gloves, and waterproof boots
- Checking ears, nose, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes for signs of frostbite regularly
- Rescheduling, reducing time or cancelling any planned outdoor activity
- Keeping infants and children inside
Windburn, trench foot and frost nip are not uncommon during cold weather. In extreme cases, frostbite and mild or severe hypothermia may occur. It is essential to also consider COVID-19 prevention measures such as wearing a face mask and ensuring 2m physical distance with others.
If you see someone on the street who needs outreach assistance due to the cold temperatures, call SOS at 620-7678. Additionally, the Care Bus is operational daily from 12 noon to 8 pm, and can be reached at 355-6012. For medical emergencies, call 911.