The weather forecast for next week is calling for high temperatures in the thirties. It is time to think about safety – particularly the safety of children and senior citizens – in cold to frigid weather. The primary concerns when outdoors in cold weather are temperature, moisture (snow, rain, sleep), and wind. Wind makes the temperature feel lower. Moisture that freezes can cause serious injury. This seems to be a good time to rehearse some key winter and cold weather safety tips for your family.
- Frostbite occurs when parts of your body freeze. The resulting damage may be permanent. Two tips to prevent frostbite:
- Dress in loose layers.
- Ensure that extremities are covered (hands, feet, ears, nose, cheeks. Mittens are a better choice for keeping fingers warm in the cold than gloves.
- Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops below 95 degrees. One sign of hypothermia is severe shivering. This shivering will lead to drowsiness, fatigue, confusion, and shallow breathing. If you are caring for someone with hypothermia, get him to a warm place and remove any wet or damp clothing. Then, wrap him with blankets or towels to warm him. Finally, call for professional help.
- Shoveling Snow probably requires ore exertion that you might be accustomed to or realize. Warm your muscles before you begin this task. Use a short shovel for lifting snow and a long shovel for pushing it. Remember that it is easier to push snow than to lift it.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning is common during cold weather. Ensure that your carbon monoxide alarms are working properly. If using space heaters, use only those that are approved and correctly installed indoors. Never run a vehicle in an enclosed space.
- Candles and fireplaces cause fires and burns every year. Most of these fires occur because something combustible comes into contact with the flame. Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned by professionals. One study determined that candles cause 25 reported home fires every day.
- Slips and Falls can cause serious injuries. Wear sensible shoes or boots and carry your fashionable shoes. Pay close attention to the surfaces on which you are walking. Surfaces treated with salt, kitty litter, or sand offer better traction. Also be alert to black ice. Don’t keep your hands in your pockets, it makes you more likely to fall. Remain focused on walking and the surface you are navigating: Don’t talk on your cellphone, listen to music or audiobooks. Listen for snow removal and other vehicles and equipment.
- If you are a pedestrian walking some distance wearing bright colors will allow others to see you. Travel on sidewalks if at all possible. If you must walk in the street, stay as close to the shoulder as possible. Always walk facing traffic. Look carefully in all directions prior to crossing a street. Allow oncoming vehicles abundant time to come to a stop. Cross a street only at an intersection. Never enter a street from between two parked vehicles.
- Always allow yourself extra time to reach your destination in cold weather.
If you or a loved one are injured through no fault of your own and due to the negligence or wrongdoing of a property owner during cold weather, call Altizer Law, P.C. Bettina Altizer and her expert team have been helping people injured due to the negligence of others for more than 30 years. When recovering from a serious injury and rebuilding your life, we understand that it’s about the money.