08:32 PM

Listen: Winter Safety Tips

Dan Daub in the ER offers great advice to stay safe

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Dan Daub, injury prevention coordinator at Kalispell Regional Medical Center, is interviewed by KGEZ AM radio regarding how you can avoid slips and falls this winter and what precautions you should take to prevent head injuries.

Read more information about injury prevention on the Emergency Services webpage for Kalispell Regional Healthcare.

More tips on winter safety 

Winter is one of the most risky times of year for accidents and injuries. We all know road conditions can get hazardous and we take precautions to drively safely, but the Emergency Department also sees a great deal of injuries due to slips and falls from simply walking around, both outside and inside the home. Here are some useful reminders for avoiding trips and falls in winter: 

  • Use special care when getting in and out of vehicles. Be sure to "test" the ground surface before you hop out of your car.
  • Carry lightweight traction devices in your car, such as YakTrax, that you can put on right over your regular boots/shoes in slippery conditions.
  • Avoid carrying items or walking with your hands in your pockets. This can reduce your ability to catch yourself if you lose your balance or take a spill and you certainly don't want to break your fall with your head. 
  • Watch for slippery floors when entering buildings. This is where folks stomp off the ice, the ice melts and creates slick puddles. 
  • In the home, be sure floor rugs lay flat to avoid becoming tripping hazards and beware of the cozy blanket you're wrapped in when you jump off the couch to answer the phone or doorbell. 
  • Enjoy the clean, crisp chilly air outdoors and go for a walk, but remember to bring along a trekking pole in case of icy sidewalks, to assist when stepping off curbs or when large snow berms are present from plowing. 

Think about preparation when you hit the road in the winter. Slick road conditions can change your plans real quick. Things you might consider keeping in your vehicle in event of an unforseen accident during the winter may include: 

  • ice scraper
  • jumper cables
  • compact shovel 
  • extra gloves and warm hat (for you or others)
  • spare blanket or sleeping bag
  • bag of sand or kitty litter for tire traction
  • windshield wiper fluid
  • emergency reflectors or flares

In Montana it's not uncommon for many residents to enjoy winter sports as much as we enjoy our warm weather sports. There's nothing like a great powder day! However, the fun can come to a screeching halt when safety is not considered first and foremost. If you adventure outside in the winter, you are probably aware of the points below, but reminders are great for everyone. Here are a few more pro tips for you winter explorers  the extreme and the more mellow types. 

  • Always let someone know where you are and when you're expected back when you're out for a winter adventure. It's simple, but important. Even better, take someone with you!  
  • Charge your cell phone so you have plenty of juice in case you get stuck unexpectedly for a while. 
  • For those that enjoy full-day outdoor exercise like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, carry a backpack with plenty of water (more than you think), snacks and extra clothing layers. A way to start a warming fire is also a great idea in case the weather changes quickly. 
  • If you enjoy faster and higher-impact sports such as down-hill skiing, snowmobiling or hockey, wear a helmet. Put some protection on that dome for crying out loud! You only get one brain so keep it working properly.
  • Consider wearing a helmet all winter long if you are clumsy. Or maybe all year long? Just kidding. But seriously wear a helmet when speed or impacts are a potential factor. It's a simple and effective way to increase your odds of more adventures. Did we already say this? 

Stay safe out there, friends!