Snow before you go: get the edge on winter weather with these preparedness tips
7 December 2018
‘Tis the season for freezin’ temperatures, potential snowfall and ice. The City of Richmond encourages residents to get a head start on preparing for upcoming winter weather conditions.
Prepare your property
- Clear snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to your property. Bylaw 5870 requires residential (single-family and multi-family) owners and occupants, as well as commercial and industrial properties, to remove snow and ice no later than 10 a.m. every day.
- Shovel snow onto your lawn, not the street. Shovelling snow onto the street is a hazard for vehicles and creates more work for snow plows, slowing down the clearing process – it also increases the chance that snow will be pushed back onto your driveway.
- Look for street storm/drainage grates in the roadway in front of your home and clear away debris such as fallen leaves, branches and snow. Take care not to bury these storm grates or gutters when shovelling snow.
- Clear leaves from your roof’s eaves and ensure appropriate drainage near your house to prevent puddles forming.
- If salt or de-icers are left to sit on new concrete (poured within one year), they cause repetitive freeze-thaw cycles that lead to surface spalling (water crystalizing in pores.)
- To avoid costly repairs, do not use salt or de-icers on new concrete. Follow manufacturer’s instructions; which typically advise to use sand instead. Have a snow shovel on hand.
- If you have a fire hydrant in front of your home, please clear the snow around it for easy emergency access.
- If possible, park your vehicle in your driveway or garage to free up street space for plows.
- Talk to your neighbours about all parking on one side of the road. Keeping one side of the curb free allows for better snow plow access. It also helps avoid possible snow pileup on your car from the snow plow.
- Keep curbs free from debris and bins. Remove any decorations, garbage, recycling and organic bins off roadways where snow plowing may take place. Check the collection schedule for notices about delayed collection.
- Have an emergency kit on-hand that includes a flashlight with batteries, glow-in-the dark stick lights, wind-up/battery clock-radio, manual can opener and Mylar/thermal blanket.
- Stock drinkable water (two litres per person per day for three days is ideal), dry and canned food and first aid materials
- Stock up on blankets in case of prolonged power outages and the home temperature drops.
- Be weather smart and dress appropriately when heading out or driving your car – hat, gloves, layered clothing, and warm, waterproof footwear.
- Develop an emergency plan with your family to identify where each member should go if getting home is not possible because of weather conditions. Visit www.richmond.ca/emergency for emergency kit information and plans.
- Buy groceries/medications/important supplies before a storm hits.
- Lend a hand: give your neighbours a hand shovelling snow, especially if they are seniors or have limited mobility.
- Make sure pets have access to a warm shelter and are not left outside. Consider these pet safety tips from the SPCA.
- Always be aware of the weather forecast, especially when driving. Make sure you feel confident to drive, use a more suitable car if possible or even have a friend drive.
Prepare your vehicle for winter
- Install good winter tires on your vehicle.
- Keep your gas tank full.
- Ensure all lights and defrosters are in good working condition.
- Replace windshield wipers with ones especially designed for icy weather.
- Top up your vehicle’s reservoir with winter window wash fluid.
- Check your vehicle battery—a vehicle with a weak battery won’t start in cold temperatures.
- Give yourself extra time to reach your destination and check traffic and weather reports before heading out.
- Leave extra distance between you and the car ahead of you.
- Leave 50 meters distance between your vehicle and the City's snow clearing equipment.
- Put a windshield scraper and brush in your car as well as a bag of sand, flares, emergency blanket, warm clothes and waterproof boots. A small shovel can also prove to be handy.
- For the safety of both the public and the operator, please stay clear of snow plows in action—the operator’s visibility can be limited.
- Clean snow and ice off your vehicle (including the roof) and ensure your headlights and windows are clear.
- Bring a thermos with a hot drink, a blanket, some food and any medication you need, in case you get stuck in your car or anywhere else in the cold. Wear bright clothing or reflective gear if you must exit your car.
For more information on preparing for the winter weather, visit www.richmond.ca/winter.