Blizzards are Cold and Blizzards Can Kill

A lady was driving her car in a blizzard in a national park. Unfortunately she lost control of her vehicle because of the poor road conditions and the vehicle rolled down an embankment. She was only a few meters from the highway but the fractured leg and arm she received prevented her from exiting the vehicle. Her car was spotted by a grader operator who was plowing the road the next day. When the operator checked on the woman, she was dead. She had frozen to death.

For most of us living in Canada, blizzards are a part of life. We grew up with them. But every year blizzards and excessive cold in Canada claim more than 100 lives. This is more than the combined total from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, extreme heat and lightning.

In Canada, blizzards are most common in the southern prairies, Atlantic Canada and the eastern Arctic. Just as you would treat a tornado with respect, blizzards deserve the same respect. Many of us will hear of a blizzard warning but carry on as if there weren’t any danger.

A blizzard involves snow, strong winds, cold temperatures and reduced visibility due to the blowing snow. This can create a deadly combination.

While working for a winter driving a snowplow, we were doing a sweep along Jasper-Banff highway before closing the road due to a blizzard. We came across a man who had lost control of his vehicle and hit the ditch at 8 PM. There was very little traffic. When we came across him, he was very happy to see us. He had been there for at least two hours. He was dressed in summer loafers, dress pants and a light fall jacket. He had no mitts, toque, shovel or any other type of survival gear and he was almost out of gas. This man could have been in a very serious situation. He was not prepared for the conditions.

Being prepared for a blizzard can make life so much easier for you and your family. In fact, it can save your life. Let’s keep these precautions in mind:

You must be prepared if you are going to travel!

The fact that you are not planning on traveling does not mean you shouldn’t take precautions. You should still stock up on items for the house. Fuel oil, food, medications diapers for the kids, milk and other necessities can not only make you more comfortable, they can save your life.

Source - Environment Canada. Check out their website at www.

This article was written by Martin Lesperance a fire fighter/paramedic and best selling author. Martin speaks across North America on the topic of injury prevention. For more information or to sign up for his free safety newsletter, go to

This information was taken from the book “I Won’t be in to Work Today - Preventing Injuries at Home, Work, and Play” by Martin Lesperance. To order this book or find out more information, go to and click on books and products. Sign up for his free safety newsletter at Martin delivers speeches across North America on the topic of injury prevention.

Copyright 1997 Safety Health Publishing Inc.

Martin Lesperance is a fire fighter/paramedic and is the author of the best selling book "I Won’t be in to Work Today – Preventing Injuries at Home, Work and Play" Martin delivers keynote presentations dealing with injury prevention. His talks are funny, but still have a strong underlying message. Visit his website at