How to prepare for BC snowstorms and blizzards12/13/2023
While freshly fallen snow can look absolutely stunning, snowstorms and blizzards bring heaps of hassles and challenges.
Rough winter snowstorms are inevitable in Canada, and you really want to be prepared in advance—you don’t want to be that person shivering in a hoodie and jeans using a hockey stick to try and ‘shovel’ snow off their driveway.
We care about your winter safety, so here is helpful advice on preparing yourself, your home and vehicle for winter storms. Don't let a snowstorm catch you off guard this year—stay safe before, during and after the cold snap with these helpful tips.
Before a snowstorm
Watch for impending blizzards
Listen to local news and weather reports regularly to alert you about winter storm warnings for your area. Use weather apps to get storm warnings. Watch for weather alerts and special weather advisories from Environment Canada, and go to DriveBC for winter road conditions (and live highway webcams). Join local community groups on social media so your neighbours can flag warnings to you as well. If you know a blizzard is coming, you can plan ahead to keep you and your family safe.
Winterize your home
Prepare your home for the cold by winterizing it. Install weatherstripping, add insulation where needed, and invest in winter window covers to keep the warmth in and the cold out. You can get a secondary heat source, like a fireplace, wood-burning stove or gas space heaters to keep your home warm in case of power outages. Finally, don't forget to ensure your home is protected against unexpected storms and freezing with BCAA Home Insurance. For more tips on how to winterize your home, check out our plumbing tips to prevent flooding and leaks and our checklist on how to fix up your home before winter sets in.
Assemble your emergency kits
Winter won’t defeat you if you build a well-stocked emergency kit for both your home and car. These should include essentials such as non-perishable food, water, medications, blankets, flashlights and a first aid kit. Here’s how to assemble your own emergency kit and what to include in a winter driving emergency kit. Or you can buy a ready-to-go emergency kit from F.A.S.T. and save 20% as a BCAA Member!
Maintain your car
Ensure your vehicle is winter-ready by keeping your tank of gas over half full, using winter tires and having a mechanic perform a thorough check for winter driving. Give your vehicle the extra care it needs during the cold season with our BCAA Auto Service Centre maintenance package.
It’s also a good idea to double check your car insurance coverage to make sure you’re protected against the unexpected. With BCAA, you get expert advice from one of BC’s largest autoplan brokers, whether you renew online, over the phone or in-person. Plus, BCAA Members save up to 20% on BCAA Optional Car Insurance.*
Be fire prepared
Snowstorms can increase the risk of power outages (often from falling tree branches), so making your home fire safe is crucial if you need to turn to other sources for light and heat. Be careful when you’re burning candles, keep flammable materials away from heat sources and open flames, check the batteries in your smoke detectors, have fire extinguishers on every floor (and in your kitchen), and make sure everyone in your household knows the emergency evacuation plan. Here are a dozen winter fire safety tips to check before you get your home looking festive for the holiday season.
During a snowstorm
Stay indoors and avoid non-essential travel
If it’s nice and warm inside, it’s best to stay there. Keep indoors and avoid non-essential travel during a snowstorm. Road conditions can be hazardous and visibility may be limited. Your safety is a top priority so postpone any non-urgent plans until the weather clears up. If you absolutely must drive, here are the top 10 winter driving mistakes (and how to fix them). And be sure to get a BCAA Membership so you’ll have BCAA Roadside Assistance in case of frozen locks, a dead battery or worse.
Use the buddy system
If you need to go outside during a snowstorm, use the buddy system. Travelling with someone adds an extra layer of safety, ensuring that help is available in case of an emergency. If you must go out alone, share your plans with someone so they know where you are.
Protect your pets
Keep your furry friends safe during winter storms by bringing them indoors. If it's necessary for them to go outside (we all have to go sometimes), ensure they have proper protection against the cold and ice, such as warm and reflective winter jackets and paw protecting booties. Check out our six tips for protecting your pet in the BC rain and snow.
After a snowstorm
Be safe when clearing ice and snow
When clearing snow off your property, make safety your number one priority. Use an ergonomic snow shovel with an adjustable handle. You want to find a shovel that fits your height and is strong enough to help you stand straighter, which means less stress on your back.
Got a lot of snow to shovel? Be sure to take breaks to avoid overexertion which can lead to injuries. Be really careful walking on slippery ice and snow. Here are six tips to keep you safe as you shovel and sweep.
Remember that it's crucial to remove snow from the sidewalk outside your home—if someone slips and falls it could be your liability. Make sure you’re protected from the unexpected with BCAA Home Insurance from BC’s Most Trusted Insurance Brand.**
You also want to wear footwear that’s great for shovelling. To stabilize yourself on icy driveways and stairs, get boots with strong tread traction and avoid boots with slippery soles.
Manage your property damage
Inspect your property for any damage caused by the snowstorm. If you find any damage, take lots of photos, videos and notes, and call your home insurer immediately. Here’s how to make a claim with BCAA if you find that a snowstorm has damaged your home.
Get covered for peace of mind
For an extra layer of protection against winter-related storm damage, ensure you are insured with BCAA Home Insurance. You’ll sleep well, knowing you are covered in the event of a claim and that, over a one-year period, BCAA paid out 95% of claims related to fire, water, weather and theft.***
Remember, being prepared is the key to navigating winter storms. By following these blizzard tips, you can get ready for winter and safeguard yourself, your home, car and family from the challenges that snowstorms bring. Stay warm and safe and enjoy the beauty of the snowy season in BC.
Insurance is sold through B.C.A.A. Holdings Ltd. dba BCAA Insurance Agency, a licensed insurance agency Home insurance is underwritten by BCAA Insurance Corporation. Auto Insurance is underwritten by CAA Insurance Company and/or the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.
*BCAA Member savings on insurance products are only available with Basic, Plus, or Premier Membership plans. For full details, please visit bcaa.com/plans.
**BCAA, in association with CAA, was chosen as the #1 Most Trusted Insurance Brand by British Columbia participants in the 2023 Gustavson Brand Trust Index
***From 2019 to 2020, BCAA paid out on average 95% of home insurance claims related to fire, water, weather and theft. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.