The Medical Officer of Health for the Brant County Health Unit has issued a cold alert, effective January 14, 2022. A cold alert is issued when temperatures are expected to drop below -15°C, without wind chill.
Everyone is at risk during very cold weather. In temperatures of -15°C or colder, unprotected skin can freeze in less than 30 minutes and the risk of developing hypothermia is high. Some groups are particularly vulnerable to the frigid temperatures, including, older adults, infants and young children, people with chronic illnesses such as breathing difficulties or heart conditions, people taking certain prescription medication, the homeless, people working or exercising outdoors, and people living in homes that poorly insulated or lack sufficient heating.
To prevent cold injuries, such as hypothermia and frostbite, the Brant County Health Unit recommends the following:
- Wear several layers of clothing and make sure the outer layer protects you from both wind and wetness.
- Cover exposed skin (using hats, mittens, or face masks) to protect against frostbite.
- Drink warm fluids free of sugar, caffeine and alcohol to prevent dehydration.
- Check on elderly and vulnerable people frequently, to ensure they are safe and warm.
Persons experiencing hypothermia may have symptoms including shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling/uncoordinated movements, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Infants may also show signs of very low energy and bright red, cold skin. Those experiencing hypothermia should be moved into a heated building and provided with warm, dry clothing (removing any wet clothing) as well as warm beverages free of alcohol, sugar and caffeine. Medical treatment should be sought for these individuals. Visit www.bchu.org to learn the signs of frostbite, hypothermia and other cold-related illnesses.
The alert remains in effect until cancelled by the Medical Officer of Health.
If you, or someone you know, is in immediate need of emergency shelter, please call the Salvation Army Housing Resource Centre at 519-802-4332. Everyone is encouraged to seek shelter. Learn more at www.brantford.ca/EmergencyShelters.
- Salvation Army, 187 Dalhousie Street: Adult men
- Rosewood House, 42 Nelson Street: Adult men and adult women
- Nova Vita, 59 North Park Street: Women and children fleeing family violence or abuse
- St. Leonard’s Youth Resource Centre: Youth aged 15 to 19