Regina man offering free boosts for people stuck out in the cold

·3 min read
'God has blessed me so much over the years that I just feel like it's time to give back,' says Corie Rempel, who has been giving free boosts to people in Regina this week.
'God has blessed me so much over the years that I just feel like it's time to give back,' says Corie Rempel, who has been giving free boosts to people in Regina this week.

(Rempel Contracting/Facebook)

The cold weather in Saskatchewan means a lot of people have been stuck with cars that won't start. Regina's Corie Rempel has been trying to make a difference.

The owner of Rempel Contracting and has been giving people a boost in exchange for donations to the Awasiw: A Place of Hope warm up shelter.

"Regina ... recently hasn't been that well known for people getting out and caring and doing stuff for other people, we used to be that kind of community back in the day," Rempel told CBC's The Morning Edition.

"I think people need to start stepping up a little bit more, just give that extra little bit of caring and compassion to others."

Rempel said he was blown away by the positive response he got. Some people have even donated simply to support his fundraising efforts.

"It's just very warming to see the amount of people that want to help and are appreciative of it."

The people Rempel has been helping aren't the only ones stuck out in the cold.

CAA Saskatchewan said it responded to more than 5,000 calls for help in the province this week.

Christine Niemczyk, director of corporate communication and public relations with CAA Saskatchewan, said some of those were for tows, but the majority were for battery boosts.

She said that when you know cold weather is coming, you should check that your block heater is working properly, that the power source is working and that the cord isn't frayed.

We're all trying to stay safe and warm out there, so it's our responsibility to help each other out. - Christine Niemczyk, CAA Saskatchewan

If you can't plug in your car, she recommends starting it every two to three hours, and taking it out for a short drive to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Niemczyk said a battery's lifespan in Saskatchewan is about three to five years, so if your battery is older than that, she recommends having it checked and maybe replaced.

"Replacement is a lot easier than having to worry about your car starting, especially during extreme cold conditions as we're having right now," Niemczyk told CBC's Saskatoon Morning.

She also recommends keeping the tank full, or half-full at a minimum.

"We're going to be starting that vehicle a lot," she said. "But the fuel in your car will also help reduce moisture in the gas tank and add some weight to your vehicle when you take it out and about."

Make a roadside assistance kit

It's also safer to have a full tank of gas if you happen to get stuck somewhere, because you can keep the car running to stay warm.

Niemczyk also said you should consider packing a safety kit with things like a parka, boots, mitts, toques, nonperishable food, mobile phone, a charger, a shovel and blankets.

If you do get stuck in extreme weather, she said it's also important to stay with your vehicle because it becomes a temporary shelter.

Driving safely in general is important, she said. Take extra time to get where you need to go and make sure to slow down when you're passing tow truck operators and emergency personnel.

"We're all trying to stay safe and warm out there, so it's our responsibility to help each other out."

Rempel said he's going to keep answering calls for help over the next few days while the weather stays cold, but as the sole proprietor of his business, he can't keep it up indefinitely.

"Spending a lot of time outside in this temperature is not good for anybody and I have to rest up and be able to get out there and do it for other people."