Cold weather continues to impact Saskatchewan businesses, vulnerable populations

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The extremely cold weather has had a firm grip on Saskatchewan for roughly a week now, and it isn’t forecast to be warming up until Sunday.

Not only is the cold dangerous to people who venture outside, but also to those who may have to provide assistance to those in need.

Brad’s Towing is always busy, but this recent cold snap has been keeping them even busier.

“There are a lot of requests for service. Once we get three to four hours behind, it seems pointless to make people wait beyond that, so we make sure they’re home safe and warm, and if they can leave their keys with the car we’ll get to it ” co-owner Brad Stratychuk said.

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Battery boosts and vehicle breakdowns are among the top cold-weather issues.

Stratychuk says they received between 100 to 200 calls a day, while turning down around the same if wait times are too long. .

“We do what we can and keep the guys safe (and) look after as many customers as we can. We appreciate everyone’s understanding, we just can’t get to them as fast as they like sometimes,” Stratychuk said.

For those without a warm place to go, there are shelters open like The Lighthouse in downtown Saskatoon. The Lighthouse continues to be at maximum capacity, providing a warm place to sleep and hot meals along with winter clothing.

Ty Mckenzie, spiritual care coordinator at The Lighthouse, said it’s critical that all shelters work together to make sure everyone who needs it has a warm place to stay.

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“We want to make sure that people can find a warm place to stay and so we don’t turn folks away. It would be an extremely extenuating circumstance if we were to do that,” Mckenzie said.

If individuals can’t stay at The Lighthouse, McKenzie said this is when they would try to collaborate with their partners at the YWCA, the Salvation Army or the new Saskatoon Tribal Council shelter to make sure there is a spot available to that person.

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McKenzie added that all shelters are in need of warm winter gear like coats, boots and mitts this time of year.

With cold weather expected through New Year’s Eve, Medavie Health Services is asking those people who are planning to go out to also have a plan in place to avoid being stuck outside while waiting for cabs.

“Just make sure you have a plan in place if you are going out for festivities. Obviously we would want people to stay home, but that probably isn’t going to happen,” spokesperson Troy Davies said.

Davies said the cold weather also changes how paramedics operate.

“A simple fall for a senior outside wouldn’t be typically a lights-and-sirens-type call, but in these types of weather conditions, that’s life threatening,” Davies told Global News.

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Davies warned residents to slowly warm themselves once they do get back inside from the cold.

“Typically if your fingers are frozen and you have the hot water on, you’re not going to feel exactly how hot that water is because you’ve lost sensation there,” Davies explained.

Davies also reminded residents to limit their time outside, dress in layers and make sure you don’t have any exposed skin.

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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