Winter Safety Tips

snow-safety-seniorsThe cold weather can be hard on all of us during the winter months, but in some cases snow and ice can lead to injuries that are sometimes serious. The most important thing you can do to protect you and your family members is to prepare ahead of time to keep everyone safe during snowfall and the cold winter months.

Slips and Falls

Ice and snow-covered walkways are a significant problem during the winter. Falls on slippery walkways can lead to sprains, cuts, bruises, broken bones, and more. Ensure walkways are cleared and salt is applied to prevent falls. Dressing for the weather helps prevent falls too. Wear non-skid shoes and ask for walking assistance if necessary. Also remember to always remove footwear before walking through your home. Tracking snow and ice through the house can lead to falls indoors.

Auto Accidents

The roadways during snowstorms are full of dangers both seen and unseen. For instance, black ice is a serious road hazard and very difficult to detect since it forms in a clear sheet over the pavement. You may not be able to see black ice, but keeping an eye on the temperature will help prevent accidents on black ice. Black ice forms when temperatures dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and typically appears on the road at dawn and during the late evening hours. If you do happen to get stuck on a patch of black ice, never slam on the brakes. Remain calm and allow the car to slide over it while taking your foot off of the accelerator. Steer the car gently, don’t try to over-steer as a way to stop your car from sliding.

Stay Warm

Exposure to the cold is another danger that can occur during periods of snowfall. Risks associated with cold weather includes frostbite and hypothermia. Always dress in layers and keep your extremities protected by wearing thermal socks and gloves. Hats and scarves can protect your face from the cold unforgiving wind. Once you’re out of the snow, remove any damp clothing and keep the indoor temperature at a minimum of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note any signs of hypothermia and contact emergency personnel if you feel confused, tired, or weak. Additional symptoms include ashy skin, difficulty breathing, and lower heart rate. Frostbite is most likely to affect the nose, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. The skin may turn very white or become a yellowish color. You may also notice the skin feeling numb or develop a waxy sensation. To help in the case of frostbite, run all affected areas of the skin under warm water immediately.

Driving in the Snow

If you plan to drive anywhere in bad weather conditions, store extra blankets in the car in case you end up stranded. You should also have snacks and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Additional winter supplies to store in your car include jumper cables, windshield scrapers, and a shovel. In addition, get your car serviced before the weather turns bad. Change the oil, check the battery, and get a new pair of windshield wipers installed. Car maintenance helps you avoid breaking down in the middle of a bad storm. Bring a fully charged cell phone with you before driving and you should always let someone know your plans before you go.

Emergency Preparation at Home

Snowstorms may force you to stay indoors for long periods of time. If the winter weather is severe enough, you could also experience power outages. To start, gather up any flashlights, extra batteries, and candles and store them somewhere easily accessible. You should also have plenty of non-perishable food items in your house. These food items should be ready to eat cold. If the heat goes out, bundle up and stay under warm blankets until it turns back on. Remember if you do use any appliances or fireplaces to warm up the house, there must be proper ventilation. There is a much higher risk of carbon monoxide and fires occurring during snowstorms. Heat sources should be placed at least three feet away from anything flammable such as curtains, bedding, and furniture pieces. Reach out to family members to request that they check in during and after a snowstorm.

Don’t deal with bad winter weather alone. Become part of the welcoming Havenwood Heritage Heights community and never worry about snow removal again. Our staff will take care of making your home safe and arranging any errands you need during inclement weather. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a tour.