05. From Our Blog: Keeping Safety in Mind This Winter

By John Fortune, MDParent and child

It is still fall according to the calendar, and already the mountain tops to the east and west are covered with a beautiful white frosting of snow.  This certainly reminds us of why we love living in Vermont! But, this beauty is also a harbinger of the winter weather that is just around the corner.  Oh yes, it won’t be too long before we will often be replacing our admiration of the winter wonderland with the dread of going outside into all of that darned snow and ice. 

And speaking of this, we trauma team members at Fletcher Allen would be remiss if we didn’t pass along some pointers that will help you get through the winter season safely:

  • On the slopes, wear protective gear including helmets and ski or ride within the limits of your ability … and watch out for the other guy!
  • Drive cautiously in the winter weather.  Braking distances are incredibly long on ice and snow and the objects that you might hit are just as solid and immovable as they are in the summer.
  • Keep your sidewalks and driveways clear of ice.  A bag of de-icing material (salt or calcium chloride) next to your door is indispensable when the walkway is slippery.  Spread a few handfuls out before walking on icy surfaces and wear solid shoes or boots.
  • Be careful of those snow blowers!  Please remember not to put your hand down the exhaust chute to clear out the clogs.  Those little spinning blades down there can’t distinguish between snow, ice and fingers.
  • Wear reflective clothing if you walk, run, or jog on the roadways.  The snow banks created by the plows reduce driver’s visibility and ability to avoid you if you catch them by surprise.
  • If you happen to rev up your snowmobile, consider sticking to the marked trails.  While a snow-covered field or path in the woods may look tempting, ruts, ravines and chain gates can sometimes ruin your fun.

Best wishes for a safe and happy winter season!

John B. Fortune, MD, FACS is a trauma and critical care surgeon and the Medical Director of the Vermont Regional Trauma Center at Fletcher Allen.  He is also a Professor of Surgery at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

See the Keeping Safety in Mind This Winter post on our blog.

View the entire Winter 2012 newsletter.
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