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Editorial: Cold snap

Unless you haven't ventured outside in the last week, you've probably noticed how bitterly cold it is.

Unless you haven't ventured outside in the last week, you've probably noticed how bitterly cold it is.

Airdrie, like much of southern Alberta, is in the midst of an extreme cold warning, with temperatures dipping below -30 C overnight and the daily highs not rising above -20 C. Of course, as with with every cold spell in Alberta, people will remind you that wind chill makes it feel even colder.

Temperatures this cold can be dangerous. According to Environment Canada's extreme cold warning, there's an elevated chance of developing frost bite or hypothermia. If you have to spend much time outside, it is important to watch for cold-related symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and numbness in your extremities.

The cold also brings risk to property damage, which Our Lady Queen of Peace School unfortunately experienced on Feb. 8 (see story on page 3). With incidences like this in mind, Airdrie Fire Department has provided some tips to keep your homes safe during the cold snap, such as maintaining a consistent thermostat setting and ensuring water lines along exterior walls are properly insulated.

Also important to consider is proper vehicle care. If your home does not have a garage or you don't have access to undergound parking, it is a good idea to plug your car in overnight to ensure the battery doesn't die due to the cold – but remember to unplug it in the morning, lest you start your morning commute by ripping the cable out as you depart.

Speaking of cars, it's also a good idea to keep some extra winter clothes or blankets in your vehicle, in case your car breaks down or you become stranded on the side of the road and have to wait for assistance.

No matter how long you've lived here, getting through a cold snap in the prairies provides a sensation of resiliency. As with everything else the last year has thrown at us, we'll get through it together.