With the weather getting colder, the City of Vernon offers a reminder to pay close attention to heat sources in the home. (Stock photo)

City of Vernon offers winter safety reminders

Reminders geared toward keeping safe while heating your home and driving in the winter

The first snow has fallen and temperatures are dropping, which is why the City of Vernon is offering reminders on winter safety.

Every winter, the main hazards to worry about have to do with driving your car and heating your home.

On Sunday, Nov. 10, Vernon Fire Rescue Services went to a home in the south end of Vernon after the residents living there noticed smoke coming from their heat registers.

The firefighters discovered the issue, a malfunctioning furnace. Fortunately, there were no injuries and the residents only had to endure some light smoke in their home.

Deputy Chief Scott Hemstad said the incident is a good reminder for homeowners to make sure their furnace is in good working order and to have it serviced each year.

“Not only do you want to be aware of your furnace, but you also want to keep safety in mind when it comes to other heat sources such as electric heaters, fireplaces and stoves. We’ve had several cold nights already this season, but with the return of snow, more people are likely turning on the heat today,” said Hemstad.

During the holiday season, out come the decorations. The city reminds us that décor should be kept away from heat sources. Extension cords and open flames are also more common this time of year and should be paid close attention to when adding festive touches to homes.

READ MORE: Fire Prevention Week sparks safety reminder for Vernon residents

READ MORE: Vernon car fire deemed suspicious

While your home may be safely heated, there are no preventing temperatures outside from dropping below zero and forming ice on the roads. On top of that, the days are getting darker earlier.

The City reminds drivers to adjust their habits to meet winter conditions and to have patience and slow down while driving on wet roads and slippery sections.

“Just as we heard from our Active Transportation team, ICBC and the RCMP last week, the days are getting shorter and the sun is setting earlier,” said Christy Poirier, manager of Communications and Grants.

“Mixing this with wet or slippery road conditions means all of us need to pay even more attention as we are moving about the city from point A to point B.”

The city will be doing its part to help with street safety, primarily with its snow and ice program which addresses roads on a priority basis.

Priority 1 roads include arterials, collectors, bus routes, school zones and selected problem areas.

Priority 2 roads are the remaining roads (excluding lanes and cul-de-sacs, which are Priority 3).

Response times will vary depending on the amount of snow, and to allow crews an appropriate amount of time to respond. Based on the forecasted snowfall, it may be 12 to 36 hours after the end of the snow event before local roads are addressed, according to the city.

Sidewalks and walkways maintained by the city are also cleared on a priority basis. Sidewalks that run adjacent to commercial properties are the responsibility of residents or tenants.

The city says people should avoid piling snow onto travel lanes, storm drains, fire hydrants or bus stops when shovelling.

READ MORE: Highways slippery in Vernon area after first snowfall hits North Okanagan

READ MORE: Vernon motorists advised of road disruptions

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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