Living on Long Island or in the Rockaways, you know all too well that winter will always present several challenges. From removing snow and ice to dressing appropriately and avoiding falls, winter safety should always be top of mind. Stay safe and warm this season with the following tips.
To stay warm:
- Cover every part of your body — including your face — and wear layers of loose-fitting clothing to protect against frostbite and hypothermia. In cold weather, your body actually loses heat faster than it can produce it.
- Stay inside when temperatures are dangerously cold. And remember that certain people are at higher risk than others, especially the elderly.
- Seek immediate medical attention for any person whose body temperature falls below 95°F.
To get around safely:
- Wear sensible footwear when streets and sidewalks are snow-covered and icy. Flat-soled shoes with treads — not smooth soles — make it easier to plant your entire foot securely on the surface, which improves balance. Water-resistant boots designed to protect your feet from the cold are also a good choice.
- Walk slowly and take shorter steps in icy, snowy conditions. This allows for adequate reaction time if you suddenly encounter a slippery patch of pavement.
- Wear bright clothing so others can see you in wintry conditions. Something as simple as a colorful scarf or hat can make a big difference.
- Be aware of your surroundings. When walking, always look ahead to anticipate any change in conditions, such as a patch of ice or uneven pavement. Avoid using headphones that block out the sound of oncoming vehicles — especially snow plows.
To remove ice and snow:
- Take time to stretch before you start to shovel snow. This helps prevent injury, especially because you’ll be using muscles that may have been inactive for a while.
- Clear the snow a little bit at a time. It may seem sensible to wait until the snow is done falling to clear it away, but that actually makes it more difficult. Instead, try to stay ahead of the snowfall by shoveling every couple inches.
- Avoid heavy lifting. A better approach is to push the snow off to the side because it requires less exertion, and that means less stress on your body.
- Take water breaks. Just as you would during any physical activity, it helps you stay adequately hydrated. Periodic rests are a must, especially if you’re not accustomed to this type of intense activity.
- Use a shovel with a long arm and a blade that’s somewhat flat. It will be easier on your back. Lifting heavy snow is never a good idea, but if you must, bend at the knees and let your legs do the work.
This winter, avoid accidents and stay warm by heeding these tips for staying safe in icy, snowy conditions.