Weather Safety: How to Prepare for a Snow Storm
By NurseBridgid on December 16, 2013
Featured Member Post
For all those, like me, who are affected by snowstorms during the winter and possibly confined to their homes because of it, I just wanted to drop a reminder a few ways to keep yourself safe:
How to Prepare for a Snowstorm
1. Make sure to get food and some water before the storm hits! Whatever food you can eat, and plan on possibly losing power, so you may have to eat PB&Js for a couple of days, or canned goods, just make sure that you have enough food to eat and fresh water to drink. You don’t want to have to go out during the storm (plus, stores won’t be open!)
2. Snow falling can be gorgeous, and you may want to go out for a walk in it, but please do not stray too far out into heavy snowfall alone; with poor visibility, it is easy to get lost, especially in poor lighting (dusk and night time.)
3. The same goes for your animals. Off-leash, they can easily get lost with poor visibility and poor lighting. If you have small creatures like mine, they can fall below the snow line, so keeping them on leash ensures their safety. It can also be harder for you to hear them with snowfall and plows around, so you may not be able to visualize them OR hear them.
4. When shoveling, take breaks: The exercise when shoveling is a lot more exertion than people think, and it is easy to strain muscles and/or exert yourself to the point of heart attack (we see a lot of cardiac arrests during snowstorm shoveling). So please take breaks, and ask for help, or if you have a plow, do a favor for someone who might not be able to shovel themselves out. If you have the means, maybe call a company to help plow you out in heavy snow.
5. Be careful with snow blowers: They can get clogged up, sometimes requiring you to pull out rocks, branches, etc., but make sure that the motor is off and the blade has stopped spinning. There are always some pretty nasty snowblower accidents that come into the Emergency Department every snowstorm! Even though it isn’t as exerting as shoveling, take breaks! Being exhausted and operating any sort of motorized equipment is as unsafe as being under the influence of alcohol, so please be safe and take breaks as you can.
6. If you have chronic medical conditions or are unwell, have a plan to get to medical assistance if necessary. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will be up and running, but they need to be safe getting to you, so times may be slightly delayed, and it is something to keep in mind. If you have someone driving you to the hospital, give yourself ample time and drive slowly and safely to get there. For example, if you are pregnant and due to give birth during a predicted snowstorm, have a plan in place!
7. Please be mindful of driving bans; they are for your own safety! If you HAVE to drive for emergency purposes (and no, that doesn’t mean you forgot extra wine), be careful and take your time. Make sure that you have a cell phone or a way to contact EMS or roadside assistance if you need to, but please use good common sense; you do not want to be one of the statistics.
8. Use common sense: It seems fun to go out and do crazy things in the snow, but temperatures are cold, visibility is low, snow drifts are higher than expected, and transportation can be really difficult. So, if you have to get your crazies out, bring a cell phone and a friend, and let people know what you are up to/when you are going. Especially if you have been drinking to pass the time (remember to eat and to hydrate well!)
9. General winter warning: Don’t go skating on ponds unless it is posted that it is safe to do so. Many times ponds/lakes appear more frozen than they are!
10. To stay healthy? Remember you don’t need a gym to get exercise. When you get stir crazy, you can always rock out with some yoga, jumping jacks, burpees, squats, etc. There’s a way to keep moving even when confined to your home.
Otherwise, enjoy the snow, have fun, and hopefully you will be able to escape your homes safely soon enough! Remember: Helping someone out is a good feeling, so if you are fit and have the means (a plow/snow blower/shovel), help someone who might be completely snowed in and unable to get themselves out. Pay it forward and keep it safe!
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