Ice, ice baby


In the slippery conditions that have arisen from the recent freezing rain and drizzle, at least one person from our office has nearly slipped and fallen in the street.

No matter how well snow and ice is removed from parking lots, streets and sidewalks, pedestrians will still encounter some slippery surfaces while walking outdoors in the winter.

It is important for everyone to be constantly aware of these dangers and to walk safely on ice.

The wardrobe:?avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles made of plastic or leather. Traction is key:?even sneakers are better than some boots. Those made of non-slip rubber or neoprene with grooved soles are best. Wear a heavy, bulky coat that will cushion you if you should fall, and a bright scarf or reflective gear so drivers can see you.

Make sure whatever you wear as far as scarves, earmuffs, or mp3 players, that it doesn't block your ability to hear traffic.

Now, the walk:?bend slightly and walk flat-footed with your center of gravity directly over the feet as much as possible. Extend your arms to your sides to maintain balance. Alternatively, keep your body weight on your front leg with every step. One animal that has figured this out is a penguin. Be the penguin.

Go slowly, and watch your step. When you're on the stairs, use the hand railings.

If you feel yourself start to fall, the safest way to do it is to tuck and roll.

Be mindful of where you park, and be careful getting out of your car. You may be parked on a patch of ice.

Use handrails where available, and watch the floors as you enter. Clean your feet on rugs and mats as the first few steps inside a building may be wet and slippery.

Be prepared for black ice formation after melting occurs, especially in this winter's cooling and warming patterns.

Avoid carrying many or bulky items. Keep hands empty so arms are free to steady or break falls, and use backpacks or carts if possible.

Remember to wear gloves. Don't keep your hands in your pockets; your arms won't be prepared to brace a fall.

If footing is questionable, test the ground in front of you before venturing ahead. Ice and slippery surfaces are not always easy to identify.

Slow down!?Never run across wet and icy surfaces. Proceed with caution.

It's important to note elderly people are at higher risk of sustaining serious injury in a slip and fall accident. For those with elderly friends or relatives, offer a hand or arm to hold. If you are somewhat older, don't be afraid to ask for help.

Take the safest route, not necessarily the shortest route, to your destination -- whether that's a traveled road or highway from home to work or business, or a sidewalk or parking area where you can see sand, salt or de-icer has been put down and the ice removed.

Use caution when getting in and out of vehicles, and use the vehicle for support.

Slips and falls are no joke:?they are the second leading cause of accidental death, according to the National Safety Council.


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