One can't deny that winter has arrived, and with it the icy roads and new safety considerations to keep in mind.

This is evidenced by the volume of calls that the Estevan Fire Department has received, most of which has been accidents and winter driving related. With that, Fire Chief Dale Feser gave some tips for when you are on the road in winter.

"You want to make sure that you are checking the road conditions, such the provincial highway hotline. There's also a lot of social media feeds out there that tend to be a little more current. Make sure that you are decreasing your speed, take your time. Clear your windshield to make sure you have good visibility, so you're not doing any peephole driving."

He added that you should have a car safety kit with items such as candles or hot pockets and some non perishable food.

"When it comes to passing vehicles, you want to make sure there's adequate time and that the road conditions are correct. Make sure that you have winter driving tires on your vehicle as well to increase your traction for both braking and acceleration."

Feser also warned against idling your vehicle in or near your garage. In addition, he said that you should get your home's heating system and appliances checked for leaks, and that secondary appliances have tip over protection and at least 3 feet of clearance from flammable items.

Winter in Saskatchewan also means that standing water freezes, which creates good opportunity for a variety of new activities.

"People are going to want to get out and do some ice fishing, snowmobiling and whatnot. Of course, the ice isn't that thick right now at all. When you find that it is three inches thick or less, you want to stay off, it's not going to support even the human body. When it gets to about 4 inches, you can do some ice fishing or cross country skiing. When it's 5 inches, or 12 centimeters, typically one vehicle, whether it be an ATV or snowmobile or something of that nature can venture on there. Before it gets to some of your smaller cars or small pickup trucks, you want to have at least 8-12 inches of thickness. With some of our larger trucks, like your half, three quarter and one tons, you want to have at least 12-15 inches in thickness."

Safety on ATV's and snowmobiles will also be important. Proper training and wearing the proper safety gear will be essential, as will calling 911 with an accurate location if something goes awry on the trail. Feser noted that your cell phone provides that simple ability.

"We just want to make sure that we are going to enjoy the winter wonderland that is going to be falling upon us, so we want to ensure that everybody is doing it as safely as possible," he concluded.

The Department is still busy renovating and preparing their new fire hall. Currently, some office spaces have been moved over from the former location, but the trucks and such still respond out of the old building.



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