ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- From slips and falls to the bitter cold, winter weather can pose a variety of health and safety dangers. However, by planning ahead and taking the necessary precautions, Rockland residents can stay safe both inside and outside this winter.
First, it's important to prepare for one of the most common winter-weather emergencies: power outages. Having food in the pantry that doesn’t need to be cooked or refrigerated, storing water in clean containers and keeping a cell phone fully charged are simple initial steps. Homeowners should also have a battery-operated flashlight, radio and lamps with extra batteries as well as a first-aid kit and extra medicine available.
When roads begin to get snowy, having a winter-prepped car is invaluable. Keep a winter emergency kit that includes blankets, food and water, a first-aid kit, flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, booster cables, flares, a tire pump and sand or salt.
When working outdoors in cold weather, wear layers of light, warm clothing as well as mittens or gloves, hats, scarves and waterproof boots. If you will be participating in outdoor recreation, be sure to bring a friend and carry a fully charged cell phone.
Most people are unaware, but shoveling snow is a serious workout. To shovel snow safely, it's important to take it slowly and if you have a history of heart problems, don’t shovel without your doctor’s permission.
Other snow shoveling tips include the following:
- Push the snow as you shovel, instead of lifting the snow out of the way.
- Use a small shovel, or only fill part of a large one to avoid straining yourself by picking up too much snow at once.
- Lift the snow with your legs bent, not your back. Bend and sit into the movement to keep your back straight. This puts less stress on your back.
- Take a break if you feel you’re running out of breath. Stop immediately if you feel any tightness in your chest.
- Dress warmly.
To avoid falling on ice or snow, beware of “black ice,” which is difficult to see. Walk on clear pathways or ones that have been treated with sand or salt. If you find yourself walking on a slippery surface, bend your body slightly forward and take shorter strides or shuffle your feet. When you get out of the car, make sure you won’t be stepping on any icy surfaces.
By thinking ahead and preparing yourself, your home and your car for winter weather, you can reduce the chance of significant injuries this season.