12 Days of Holiday Safety: Day 8 = Slips & Falls Prevention
December 20, 2013
When the weather outside is frightful, City of Madison Fire Department firefighters and paramedics know they can expect a flurry of emergency medical calls as people emerge from their homes out onto slippery steps, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots.
The City of Madison operates eight ambulances on a daily basis, providing advanced life support. However, all Madison firefighters are certified Emergency Medical Technicians, so it’s likely a fire crew will respond to some calls.
The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents:
Remember that prevention is the best way to stop slips and falls during the winter in icy conditions. On your own property, be sure to shovel driveways, walkways, and sidewalks. Salt high traffic areas if you think ice may form. If there are especially icy spots, place a sign to warn others of the hazard.
- Wear gloves – don’t put your hands in your pockets when you are navigating wintry stretches. If you slip, you will need your arms to restore balance. If you fall, your arms will help you to break your fall and land safely.
- Wear the proper footwear. It may not be glamorous to wear a pair of boots, but it will give you traction, AND keep your feet warm. If you want to wear heels or other kinds of shoes, simply carry an extra pair with you to change into.
- If you think you are approaching a particularly slick area of snow or ice, test the area with your toe to see how slippery it is before you put your full weight on the area.
- Don't carry large loads while walking on snow or ice. If you are carrying something on an icy walk and feel yourself falling, toss it so that you can break your fall with your arms.
- Take small careful steps instead of large ones. When getting out of a vehicle, step, don't jump. When possible, use handrails, handles - anything that will help you keep your balance.
- Walk, don’t run.
- Offer to help older adults or people with disabilities on snow and ice. Slips and falls can be extremely dangerous for seniors. If you are older and/or unsteady on your feet, don't shy away from asking others for a helping hand.
For many residents, the best choice is to postpone any outdoor activities. Even going out to get the mail or shovel snow can be a treacherous venture that can lead to serious injury and lengthy recovery.
- Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947, firstname.lastname@example.org