Winter Weather Tips From BCHD

Bond County Health Department wants to encourage everyone to practice safe behaviors when negotiating inclement winter weather conditions. The following tips are just a few common sense actions that each of us can do to prevent a painful slip and fall injury!

Injuries due to falls are one of the most common injuries, however many of these unfortunate incidents can be avoided altogether with common sense behaviors. Bond County Health Department hopes to prevent as many (as possible) of these slips and fall injuries this winter.

Wear shoes with rubber, neoprene, or composite soles. If you must wear heels or dress shoes, wear regular shoes or winter boots when walking to and from the building and change into your dress shoes once you have arrived at your destination. When walking outdoors in the winter, keep your weight directly underneath you. This can be done by taking short, slow steps. Wear shoes that provide good traction on snow or ice. Assume that all wet and/or dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy, and be very cautious. Take special care when entering or exiting buildings and vehicles, since the condition of interior to exterior surfaces, and vice versa, can change dramatically and unexpectedly, resulting in a fall if one is not paying attention. Be focused, and move slowly and intentionally to avoid a painful slip and fall when icy winter conditions exist!

Avoid carrying loads and don’t use your cell phone while walking on areas that may be snowy, icy and slippery. Your arms should be free to help maintain your balance, and to break your fall if necessary. Keep your hands out of your pockets! Keep your eyes on where you are going, walk slowly and never run on icy ground.

When exiting a vehicle in snowy/icy weather, place both feet on the ground and test (move your feet around some) the surface before standing up. If it feels slippery, proceed very slowly and cautiously. Consider changing parking spots to a less slippery area, and report the slippery area to maintenance staff for salting. To enter a car, start with both feet on the ground, turn slightly and face the open door. Sit down on the seat. Both feet should still be on the ground. Now turn in the seat to face the steering wheel, brining both legs into the car. This is safer than stepping into the car with one’s right foot as is common, especially when slippery conditions exist.

During the winter, walk in designated cleared walkways and areas at all times and as much as possible, as these tend to be shoveled and salted, thus reducing the risk of a painful slip and fall injury. As they say, the short cut is often the long way. If a walkway is completely covered with ice, try to travel along its grassy edge for traction, or find an alternate route. Be sure to report any icy areas to maintenance so that they can be salted/cleared, thus reducing the possibility of slip and fall injuries for everyone.

Practice “3-points of contact” to significantly reduce the chances of slipping/falling when entering or exiting a vehicle. Three points of contact means that 3 of 4 limbs are in contact with the vehicle (or ground) at all times when entering and exiting – either one hand and two feet, or two hands and one foot. Only one limb is in motion at any one time.

Bond County Health Department encourages everyone to follow these tips to avoid a painful slip and fall injury!

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