Extreme Cold


Civil Security Guidelines

The body must exert additional effort in order to stay warm in cold temperatures. This effort can jeopardize health. During winter, we must all adopt safe practices to protect our health.

If you are at home

  • Heat your house as usual, and keep the room temperature at 19°C or above.
  • Caulk doors and windows to prevent cold air from coming in.
  • If you use a wood stove or an auxiliary heating system, make sure the room is well ventilated.
  • If you have to use a generator (in the event of a power outage, for example), install it outside your home or any other inhabited building.

To learn more about what precautions to take when using an auxiliary heating appliance or generator, consult the Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning page.

If you must go out

  • Dress in several layers of clothing. The top layer must be windproof and waterproof.
  • Make sure that you cover your head, nose, mouth, neck, hands and feet well. Wear boots that will keep your feet warm and prevent you from slipping and falling.
  • If you must drive, prepare for the fact that you may have to stay in the cold for a long time, for example if your vehicle breaks down or if you get stuck, and make sure you have the following personal belongings and equipment:
    • a cell phone that works and that is charged;
    • enough bottled water, food and blankets;
    • a shovel, a snow brush and traction aids;
    • enough medication, if you take medication.
  • Stay active – walk constantly, for example.
  • Limit vigorous physical exertion, such as shovelling snow or running.
  • If you must stay outside for a long time, take breaks in a warm place that is sheltered from the wind.
  • Avoid getting your clothes wet. If your clothes get wet, change them as soon as possible. You can also remove a layer of clothing as soon as you start to sweat.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol; neither will warm you up. On the contrary, smoking or drinking alcohol may lower your body temperature even more and lead to hypothermia, for example

Useful Emergency Numbers

Emergency : 9-1-1

Info-Santé : 8-1-1

CIUSSS de l'Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal : 514 697-4110


Levels of activation of the emergency plan

Normal: Seasonal watch

Alert: Minor consequences, but possibility of deterioration

Intervention 1: Potential for deterioration increases, coordination with civil security

Intervention 2: Major consequences, direct and real threat

Recovery: Progressive return to normal