-Ice creates beautiful scenery--a winter wonderland. But when ice coats roads, sidewalks and power lines it creates a dangerous situation often resulting in downed power lines, car accidents and injuries from slip and falls.
"Of the more than 1M injuries in the U.S. caused by falls the most common is the slip and fall," said Martin B. Tirado, CAE, CEO of the Snow & Ice Management Association. "Slipping and falling on ice accounts for a large number of winter-related injuries and may even change the quality of life for the injured person."
In addition to injuries, ice storms have residual effects such as loss of power, road closures, fallen trees and impassible sidewalks. Melting and freezing snow also can create (and recreate) icy conditions long after the initial snowstorm has ended.
SIMA, the North American nonprofit organization representing snow removal professionals, has these tips on surviving a wintery ice storm.
TIP #1: Wear proper footwear. Proper footwear should place the entire foot on the surface of the ground and have visible treads. Avoid a smooth sole and opt for a heavy treaded shoe with a flat bottom.
TIP #2: Anticipate the ice. Be weary of thin sheets of ice that may appear as wet pavement (black ice). Often ice will appear in the morning, in shady spots or where the sun shines during the day and melted snow refreezes at night.
TIP #3: Plan ahead. While walking on ice-y sidewalks or in parking lots, walk consciously. Instead of looking down, look up and see where your feet will move next to anticipate ice or an uneven surface. Occasionally scan from left to right to ensure you are not in the way of vehicles or other hazards. When stepping off a curb, using steps, or getting into a car, be careful since shifting your weight may cause an imbalance and result in a fall.
TIP #4: Avoid taking shortcuts. Shortcuts are a good idea if you are in a hurry, but may be a bad idea if there is ice on the ground. A shortcut path, such as walking across a median in a parking lot, may be treacherous because it is likely to be located where snow and ice removal is not possible.
TIP #5: Stay home and be safe. During an ice event, spend some quality time at home. Forget spring-cleaning now is a great time to tackle your basement, your office or a storage closet. Turn off your electronics--yes that includes your phone-- and play a board or card game with your family. Take a book from your bookshelf--you know the one that you've been meaning to read and read it. Or have your family take turns reading a book out loud discussing it as you read.
Following these tips will help ensure that you survive an ice season safely. For more snow and ice removal tips, visit SIMA.