During the winter, we see an uptick in weather related cases, like slips and falls, strained muscles and exposure to the elements. To help you and your family stay safe and make the most out of this winter, we’ve put together a few tips.
Slips & Falls
One of the most common causes of injury is slipping on a slick surface and falling. It’s important to be careful when walking outside during the winter months. Be sure to wear appropriate shoes and winter gear if you’ll be outside. You should also assume that all areas where you will be walking have not been properly treated for snow and ice, and take precautions.
You should treat all potential problem areas around your home before bad weather hits. This means salting your sidewalk or front steps, and restocking on snow removal essentials ahead of time.
With all the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s hard to remember to slow down, but to prevent slips and falls, it’s important to take your time and carry less in your hands.
Nebraska is known for its snowy winters, so make sure you’re prepared. Whether you have a small sidewalk or a long driveway, it’s good to keep these tips in mind when you’re removing snow from your property.
Give yourself plenty of time to shovel or blow the snow off, and don’t rush through the job. Moving too quickly could lead to back pain, strained muscles or other injuries. To prevent soreness, try loosening up your muscles before shoveling by stretching your arms, legs, back and shoulders.
Lift with your knees, not your back. Try to avoid moving from the spine, and instead let your legs and arms do the heavy lifting. It may also help to push the snow into a pile, rather than throwing it off to the side.
Take breaks and stay hydrated. It may feel cold outside, but the hard work of snow removal can be exhausting. Don’t push yourself too hard, and be sure to replenish fluids. It may help to keep up with the storm instead of waiting until the snow has stopped falling.
Snow Blower Safety
Using a snow blower can make your snow removal process a lot easier. However, they can also be a dangerous tool. In 2012 alone, more than 3,300 emergency room visits for snow blower related injuries were reported. Like any piece of machinery, it’s important to be mindful of the potential hazards when working with a snow blower.
You shouldn’t wear loose fitting clothing when operating a snow blower. Pants, jackets and scarves could easily become tangled in the moving parts. Be sure to also remove door mats, newspapers and other objects that may be in the path, to avoid causing a clog and damaging the machine.
Don’t ever put your hands or feet inside a snow blower, even if the machine is turned off. Severe injuries including lacerations, fractures and even amputations can occur from trying to clear a clog yourself. Use a clearing tool to unclog the snow blower, and be sure to turn the machine off before attempting to clear it.
Use the correct extension cords if you have an electric snow blower. An outdoor extension cord should be connected to a grounded outlet, and the cord should be kept away from the augur while in use.
Don’t start your gas-powered snow blower in an enclosed area, even if the door is open. This can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, a very dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation.
Staying Safe on the Road
It’s important to prepare your car for cold weather as well. Roads can become icy and slick very quickly, so start preparing now, before a storm hits.
Check all your fluid levels, lights and other parts of the car to be sure everything is in proper working condition. Pay special attention to your antifreeze levels and battery. Winter tires may also be a good idea.
Update your emergency vehicle kit. Include a shovel, windshield scraper, flashlight, blankets, first aid kit and other supplies in case of a breakdown or accident.
Take extra time to get to your destination. People often don’t take weather into account when planning their day, so make sure you remember to plan ahead and leave a little early to make it on time.
We hope you’ll take these tips into consideration when preparing for the winter months. And remember, if you do experience an injury, our Emergency Department is open 24/7 for all emergencies