Skiff urges winter safety
Dec 21, 2012 (Newton Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
While many children enjoy the winter snowfall, Skiff Medical Center deals with a much different side to winter: injuries.
The first snowfall of the year can be a learning experience for some. Drivers tend to drive the suggested speed limit, but weather conditions can change that.
Winter Storm Draco caused many local businesses to shut down Thursday and the roads to be slippery. The precipitation that was left on the ground froze, causing the driving conditions to be difficult.
"The first snow of the season is where you see a lot of injuries," Emergency Management Safety Coordinator John Bartello said. "Drive for the conditions that exist."
Another cause for injury is shoveling snow, which can be strenuous on the body and stressful to the heart. The heavier the snow, the more dangerous it can be.
"(You) need to make sure you are in good condition," Bartello said. "Make sure you're stretched and warmed up."
Slips, trips and falls are the most common winter related injuries Skiff has dealt with in years past. When the temperature is below freezing, many people run to their cars to get warm. Crocs and high heels are popular to wear, but provide little to no traction. Dr. Tariq Mallick, medical director at Skiff Medical Center, agreed.
"We see people falling on steps, especially on the edge of steps," he said. "Wear proper winter boots with proper metal traction. The elderly should not go out until the snow is properly removed."
Having a snowblower does not always mean that you are safe from harm. The snow can get stuck in the blades, and some people try to clean them out while the blower is still in use or on. Mallick recommended turning off the snow blower and waiting until the blades completely stop before attempting to clean the device.
Dr. Mallick also warned of the dangers of starting a snowblower or anything gas powered in the garage without proper ventilation. He said there is a risk of suffocation from the fumes.
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