Slips, trips, and falls are the number 3 cause of accidental death in the United States, right behind motor vehicle accidents. Here in the valley where we get lots of snow and ice during the winter, the chance of a fall resulting in injury or death is much higher. These slips and falls can happen indoors in areas where snow and ice have been tracked in but they are more common outdoors in parking lots and on sidewalks, stairs, decks, and other areas where snow and ice accumulate.
Follow these tips to keep yourself safe and avoid having a dangerous slip, trip or fall this winter.
Choose the Right Footwear
When going outside during the winter months in Colorado you are more than likely going to experience some form of ice or snow. Your footwear should be able to help protect you while you are out in this tricky weather. Waterproof shoes that have traction on them should be the top qualities to look for when buying your next pair of winter shoes. These types of footwear are best suited for the winter environment: winter boots, hiking boots, and detachable ice grips for shoes.
Pro-tip! Store your steel toe boots for the winter months. If you wear them too long in the cold they could cause hypothermia in your feet.
Watch Where You Walk
Walking in winter environments can be quite challenging with the danger of ice and snow. Before going forward, tap the ground with your foot before taking a step to check for any ice. To protect yourself from a potential fall, take small steps, lean forward slightly, and walk flat-footed – some call this the penguin walk! When entering or exiting buildings, do your best to avoid walking on curbs or steps if you can help it.
Take All the Precautions You Can
Here are a few things to be mindful of when out in the winter weather. Lend a hand to those who may need a little help walking on slick surfaces, like the elderly and children. When getting out of your vehicle, keep a hand on the vehicle to support yourself because you don’t know how slick the ground is. Whatever you do, and no matter how tempted you may be, don’t put your hands in your pockets! Instead, wear gloves to keep your hands warm outdoors. This precaution is necessary because by putting your hands in your pockets, you risk your balance since you’ve now lowered your center of gravity.
If You Fall
The number one thing that you should do if you do happen to take a tumble is to tuck your head in towards your chest to avoid hitting your head. Keep your elbows and knees bent when you fall and try to land on your butt to help protect your body from sustaining any injury.
At the Carbondale Fire District, we are here to help protect you and your family from potential winter accidents. We hope that these safety tips and reminders will help to keep you and your loved ones safe this year. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at any time.