Cold weather brings mixed feelings from workers

By Vanessa Ybarra
December 9, 2016 - 5:50pm Updated: December 10, 2016 - 7:58am

KAMLOOPS —The arctic air mass hanging over the province right now shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.

For most people, that means hunkering down and staying indoors as much as possible.

But what about those who have no choice but to brave the outdoors?

For workers such as postal carriers, construction workers and even drive-thru employees, freezing temperatures and highs winds can quickly turn any shift from manageable to miserable.

Canada Post carriers are currently in the thick of Christmas card and parcel deliveries. 

For them, it's layers, layers, layers.

"I've got five layers on the top, and longjohns on the bottom," said Ken Leblanc, a postal carrier for Canada Post "Five layers is pretty good to about -30 or so, but your hands always get cold."

With postal workers logging 12 hours a day in -10 weather, Leblanc says the main thing above anything else, is to keep moving. 

"That's all you have to do and if it gets really cold, you move into a nice warm place for five or ten minutes and then move on." 

For construction crews and even drive-thru workers forced to withstand winter conditions, this time of year can be especially trying, but not all are complaining. 

At Interior Plumbing & Heating, the cities cold spell has quickly heated up their phone line. 

"It's pretty hectic here especially in the mornings," said Wayne Marshall, Co-Partner of Interior Plumbing & Heating. "People find out their heat isn't working well overnight so we get a lot of calls first thing."

Marshall says furnace repair demand has spiked 30 to 40% in the last week. 

"When it's cold like this, the equipment is running much harder than it usually does," said Marshall. "On a typical day, it might run for four or five hours during the day, when it's cold like this it runs for eight, 10, maybe 12 hours of the day. The additional load causes pieces of it to break down."

Marshall says they've also dealt with a few frozen pipe calls, with some staff members working overtime to keep up with demand.

"There are very few spots open in the schedule," said Marshall. "We're booking into next week right now."

And Environment Canada is forecasting even more cold weather.

We certainly are still are in the thick of it," said Ross Macdonald, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist with Environment Canada. "It's still quite cold, with day times high struggling to get above -10 as we've seen really most of the week. We're really going to continue to see that today and for the rest of the weekend."

For those who do have to brave the elements, optimism appears to be the best defence. 

"I don't mind this weather at all, but I prefer the summer," chuckled Leblanc.

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