STAY Safe in Extreme Cold

Those living in certain places of the world like the upper Midwest United States, Canada and Russia expect cold and snow as part of their normal yearly weather cycle. But a Polar Vortex has individuals living in these places and many others experiencing frigid temperatures thatCold Weather present even the most seasoned cold-weather dwellers with a need to plan more than usual for safety in extreme cold.

To help create the proper mindset, keep the word “stay” in mind for managing life in extreme cold temperatures (anything near or below freezing).

STAY Aware

  • Regularly watch local weather reports, especially paying attention to windchill temperatures and storm warnings.
  • Know the warning signs of hypothermia and frostbite and be educated on what to do should either occur.
  • Keep road conditions in mind at all times, and adjust driving speed accordingly since getting stranded in extreme cold is especially dangerous.
  • Check the condition of water pipes, doing what you can to keep them from freezing and breaking.
  • Know when going outside is a bad idea, and stay inside as much as possible.
  • Realize that cold affects the elderly and the very young more quickly and more severely, so make sure they stay out of extreme cold and check in on them often.
  • Don’t forget that extreme cold is dangerous for pets too.
  • Help road crews out, and avoid travel immediately after heavy snowfalls.

STAY Prepared

  • Have a week’s worth of food and water should weather conditions prevent a trip to the store.
  • Have a well-stocked Winter Home Emergency Supply Kit at home and a Winter Emergency Car Kit in trunks of all vehicles, and check them regularly to make sure they stay well-supplied.
  • Insulate pipes if freezing is a concern, and know what to do if pipes freeze .
  • Make sure all vehicles are properly winterized with gas tanks kept always at least half full.
  • Keep sunglasses handy when driving, especially when clouds clear and the sun starts reflecting off the snow.
  • Always travel with a fully-charged cell phone should you become stranded and need to call for help.
  • Let others know your specific travel plans (route, timing, etc.), so you can get help as soon as possible should your vehicle break down or get stuck in the snow.

STAY Warm & Dry

  • If you need to go outside, remember that the chances of hypothermia increase when clothing is wet.
  • Wear several loose-fitting layers, including water-repellent gear.
  • Keep in mind that sweating dampens clothes, and that wet clothing can lower body temperature and contribute to hypothermia.
  • Remove wet clothing as soon as possible, having spares available when you know you’ll be outside.
  • Remember to keep extremities covered as they are more susceptible to frostbite.
  • Don’t forget to cover your mouth also, since extreme cold can hurt the lungs.
  • Especially in extreme temperatures caused by windchill, cover every part of skin since frostbite can occur in a matter of minutes.
  • Be sure to dress in layers, which traps warm air that acts as insulation.
  • Wear a hat since 40% of body heat can escape through the head.
  • Keep hands warm and functional at the same time by choosing the proper gloves for use in extreme cold.
  • Make sure heating sources are adequately fueled and maintained at all times.

Prevention still remains the best solution for surviving extreme cold temperatures no matter where you live. When frigid arctic air decides to stick around for any length of time, STAY healthy and safe by preventing emergencies whenever possible and by knowing the best course of action when they do happen.

5 Tips To Help Keep The Holidays The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

From decorating for the holidays and visiting family to preparing feasts and enjoying activities in the snow, this time of year provides seemingly unending choices for fun, family and fellowship. Unfortunately, the busyness and merriment of this time of year also means the potential for snowmanincreased injury from a variety of sources.

Let’s take a look at 5 main areas injuries often take place during the holidays as well as tips for keeping the season safe and joy-filled.

  1. Toys

Safety in play during the holidays begins with making sure toys are appropriate for a child’s age and ability as well as providing appropriate supervision. Start by checking age ranges on toys before purchasing. With younger kids, also be aware of the packaging for toys, making sure potential eye hazards are removed. Special care also needs taken with flying and projectile toys, including chemistry sets, airsoft and BB guns and rockets. Supervise older kids using projectile toys, and make sure they follow directions and wear goggles when operating these toys. Also remember to keep younger children and other spectators at a safe distance.

For more information on keeping kids safe during sports and play, check out these helpful articles: Airsoft Safety, Part 1 and Part 2 and The Top 5 Most Unlikely Holiday Safety Risks.

  1. Decorations

Most homes are filled with festive decorations this time of year. Be sure to check that breakable ornaments are out of the reach of young children and make sure branches on Christmas trees aren’t sticking out at a child’s eye-level. Other decorations posing potential injury threat include fireplaces, candles and electrical cords. Use common sense with each of these, making sure they won’t cause someone to trip and that they are safely avoidable. Another potential hazardous decoration is spray snow because the chemicals can easily harm eyes. Use caution when applying making sure to wear safety goggles when doing so.

  1. Food

For some, holiday food is the best part of the holiday season. And other than the extra calories, many don’t consider the potential safety hazard accompanying all that extra food. To begin, be aware of the safe handling and cooking processes needed for the food you’re preparing. From food allergies to food poisoning, being aware of the potential health hazards can help make sure everyone enjoys the festivities. Food safety also involves making sure an active kitchen is always supervised and that smoke alarms are in working order. Finally, keep children away from hot surfaces, and encourage everyone to wash hands frequently.

  1. Snow

If you live in or are traveling to an area with the potential for a white Christmas, you’re probably looking forward to sledding and snowball fights and possibly snowmobiling, skiing or snowboarding. If your holiday plans include these or other outdoor snow-related activities, make sure everyone’s gear includes sunglasses or goggles to protect eyes both from impact and from the sun. Also, keep in mind that the possibility for sunburn still exists in cold weather, and that its potential significantly increases with altitude. In addition to protecting eyes, protect the rest of your body by staying dry and dressing warmly with layers.

Check out these great articles related to safety in the snow: Links to articles on Cold Weather Safety, Great Goggles Make Snowmobiling Even More Enjoyable, and An Expert’s Guide to Skiing Sunglasses Lens Tints.

  1. Travel

Most people travel at least some over the holidays with many traveling significant distances. Keep in mind that weather makes road conditions vary significantly from one location to the next as well as at different times of day. Plus, there are the vision challenges often accompanying long drives. Vision can become blurry from fatigue, sunlight reflecting off snow makes seeing anything difficult, and just general fatigue can wreak havoc on anyone’s alertness. Tips for safe holiday travel include wearing the proper eyewear for the time of day, including always sunglasses during the day. Other options for reducing the chance of accidents caused by fatigue include resting frequently, keeping the car cool and sharing the driving. And tips on travel safety during the holidays would be incomplete without encouraging that a designated driver be chosen prior to indulging in any holiday drinking.

For more on the challenges of night driving, check out Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 1 and Part 2.

Following the simple tips above can help ensure this holiday season stays the most wonderful time of year.

Eye Injury Prevention – A Quick & Easy Approach

Dog with GogglesEye Injury Prevention Month occurring in July – right in the middle of summer – is no coincidence. With an increase in outdoor activities from yard work to sports to fireworks to home maintenance, reasons for remembering eye safety during the summer months seem obvious.

Yet, summer often flies by with many never considering the prevention of eye injury until it’s too late. Don’t become one of these statistics…

  • More than one million people suffer from eye injury yearly.
  • Eye injury occurs at a rate of more than 2,000 per day.
  • About 1,000 eye injuries occur daily in the workplace, which means that 50% of eye injury takes place outside of the workplace.
  • Any exposure to sunlight adds to the cumulative effects of ultraviolet radiation on your eyes.
  • UV exposure has been linked to eye disorders such as macular degeneration, solar retinitis, and corneal dystrophies.

Don’t let the fun and carefree feeling of summer keep you from taking a few basic steps to prevent eye injury & disease. Help keep your summer memories safe with two simple habits.

  1. Wear sunglasses regularly. Get the proper UV protection and eliminate excuses.
  2. Wear safety glasses regularly. Keep summertime fun by avoiding eye injuries.

That’s it. Pretty simple, right? Wearing quality sunglasses and safety glasses is all it takes to eliminate 90% of eye injuries and to prevent disease caused by cumulative damage to the eyes by the sun.

Take the first step today, and purchase the appropriate eyewear to have ready when needed. Then continue enjoying a happy and safe summer.