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Winter 2010 Falls Prevention Advice
Fortune favours the prepared.
With an early start to this year’s ice and snow, local hospitals (A&E admissions up 250% at Cardiff hospital in freeze) have been inundated with injuries from slips, trips and falls on icy ground.
Historically, our winters have been milder and haven’t started so early or lasted for such an extended period. If such icy winters become normality we may have to learn to live with them and to minimise the problems they cause.
Ice reduces our grip leading to increased risk of falls. The other week a friend of mine stepped out onto an icy pavement, slipped and fractured his arm. Easily done, and sadly an all too familiar story.
The good news is there are easy activities and precautions that can help reduce the risk of falls. Unfortunately, as long as we are active this risk can only be reduced and not eliminated.
Our European neighbours are well versed in dealing with heavier snow and extended periods of snow and ice, so how do they stay safe in winter conditions?
It’s all about the interface: foot meets ice. Snow chains for car tyres or shoes can increase our grip and reduce the risk of slips and falls on icy ground.
Whilst there is no advice leaflet that can completely reduce the risk of a fall I hope this helps keep you safe and on your feet.
Top 10 Tips
1. Increase your grip i.e. good shoes and consider à ‘shoe & tyre chains’
2. Limit your contact time (on ice): = limit your risk
3. Clear snow early: from your steps / paths
4. Take your time: on slippery ground
5. Grit key areas: paths / steps (Increase your grip)
6. Increase your base of support i.e. use a hand rail or a walking pole
7. Don’t get distracted: keep your focus on the task of staying on your feet
8. Take care with your changes of direction and changes of speed
9. Take additional care ascending and descending on slopes and steps
10. ‘See what you’re walking on’ use a torch at night
- knowing if the ground is uneven or icy can help!
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