Winter weather safety tips

Winter weather safety tips

(KFVS) - Several agencies have released some safety tips for winter weather.

Generator safety tips from Ameren IL

Customers who use portable generators during a power outage must remember that they can become deadly when not used properly.

The National Electric Code requires those who install a portable generator to also install a safety disconnect switch to prevent the electricity produced by the generator from feeding back into utility lines. Never plug a generator directly into an outlet to power a home.

Backfeeding electricity into utility lines thought to be de-energized could result in damage to property. More seriously, backfed power poses an unseen hazard to utility personnel who are working on the power lines.

In the event power is backfed into downed power lines, anyone coming into contact with those lines could be seriously injured or killed.

A portable generator can be used to directly power appliances.

  • style="line-height:normal;">Use heavy-duty extension cords that are specifically designed for outdoor use
  • style="line-height:normal;">Make sure the wattage rating for each cord exceeds the total wattage of all appliances connected to it
  • style="line-height:normal;">Extension cords must be long enough to allow the generator to be placed outdoors and far away from windows, doors and vents to the home or to other structures that could be occupied
  • style="line-height:normal;">Check the entire length of each cord is free of cuts or tears and that the plug has all three prongs
  • style="line-height:normal;">Protect the cord from getting pinched or crushed if it passes through a window or doorway
  • style="line-height:normal;">Portable generators also must never be operated inside a garage or other building, as generator engines produce deadly carbon monoxide

Winter weather safety tips from the Red Cross

Power outage

Food safety - Have one or more coolers on hand and ice. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about four hours. First use food from the refrigerator, then from the freezer

Electrical equipment - Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including electronics. Turn off or disconnect any appliances, equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When the power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment. Leave one light turned on so you'll know when the power comes back on

Safe heating - Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Place the unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors

Carbon monoxide - Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide. If the carbon monoxide alarms sound, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

Travel safety

The best way to remain safe is to stay off the road during severe weather, if possible. If you have to drive on icy roads, follow these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm:

  • style="line-height:normal;">Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones
  • style="line-height:normal;">Slow down. Don't follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on icy roadways
  • style="line-height:normal;">Don't use cruise control when driving in winter weather
  • style="line-height:normal;">Don't pass snow plows
  • style="line-height:normal;">Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways

How to safely get around in snow and ice from St. Louis University occupational therapists.

Here are some simple steps to minimize your fall risk.

Safety begins before you leave the house. Shoe choice can impact stability. It is recommended avoiding boots or shoes with smooth soles or heels. Instead, wear shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice; boots made of non-slip rubber or neoprene with grooved soles are best.

A heavy, bulky coat that will cushion you if you should fall in also a wise idea.

Wear sunglasses during the day to help you see better and avoid hazards. Make sure whatever you wear doesn't block your vision.

In addition to keeping your line of vision clear, it's important to remember to not overdo it. While it may be tempting to grab all of your groceries in one load to quickly get out of the cold, it could impact your stability.

You want to leave your hands and arms free to balance yourself.

If there is snow or ice on the ground, it's recommended to bend slightly and walk flat-footed. Put your center of gravity directly over your feet as much as possible. take short steps or shuffle. It also helps to stop occasionally to break momentum.

Extending your arms out to your sides can help to maintain balance. Look ahead when you walk. Walking along the grassy edge of snow-or-ice-covered sidewalks or driveways provides better traction. Use hand railings when walking on steps.

Take your time and focus on safety. Be aware of your surroundings.

What happens if you do find yourself slipping?

  • style="line-height: normal;">Anytime you are walking on possibly slick surfaces, keep your hands out of your coat pockets. This lowers your center of gravity while walking and increases balance. You can help break your fall with your hands free if you do start to slip, although this does increase the risk of a wrist injury
  • style="line-height: normal;">If you fall backwards, quickly tuck your head forward, chin to chest. Try to extend your arms away from your body and "slap" the ground with your palms and forearms. This maneuver will help prevent your head, wrists and elbows from hitting the ground
  • style="line-height: normal;">If you fall to the side, try to allow your forearms to make contact with the ground first, not your hand. Lift your head to the opposite shoulder and continue to roll
  • style="line-height: normal;">If you fall forward, try to roll to one side, and follow the same procedure as if you were falling to the side
  • style="line-height: normal;">If you do fall, the first thing to do is assess yourself for injuries. If you have struck your head or you think you have broken a bone, attempt to get help before moving. If you think you are uninjured, go ahead and try to get up.

If you haven't hit your head, it's helpful to get off the cold surface rather than staying on it.

It's recommended to turn over onto your hands and knees. Take one foot and place it between your hands, then bring the other foot between your hands. Trying to keep your feet shoulder-width apart, push yourself up from there.

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