Emergency rooms see an increase in slip and fall injuries as well as in cardiac conditions when people head outside to shovel snow. Here are some tips to keep safe:
Wear gloves and hat to keep warm, and high boots to protect the ankles from turning.
Bring a container with a warm drink outside with you to stay hydrated in the cold.
Don't eat a big meal before shoveling.
Take breaks. Don't attempt to do the entire driveway at once.
Ask for help. If you can't hire professionals, let family members help.
If you are shoveling alone, if possible make sure someone nearby is watching in case you fall or have cardiac problems.
Keep your cellphone in a pocket in case you need to call for help. Especially with cardiac issues, any time delay can be deadly.
Don't stoop. Keep your back straight and use your legs to lift the snow.
Don't overload the shovel. Take your time and do it slowly.
Cats should stay indoors.
Walk dogs on a leash. Dogs can become disoriented in the snow.
Dogs love to frolic in the snow, but watch their exposure time. Like humans, they can get frostbite.
Outdoor animals may hide under the hood of a car to stay warm, so bang on the hood before starting the car.
Keep a towel or moist wipes by the door to clean your dog's feet of salt, antifreeze and other harmful toxins they may pick up on the road.
ON THE ROADS
When in a skid, steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. Once out of the skid, gently continue to steer in the direction you want the car to go. Don't slam on the brakes.
Take care of the car's physical condition. Have windshield wiper fluid handy, clear snow from exhaust pipes, make sure the battery is fully charged, and have good working brakes and tires.
Drive with your headlights on.
Scrape the windows thoroughly and clean snow off body of car.
Drive slowly. Stay 8 to 10 seconds behind the car ahead.
Apply gentle pressure on the accelerator to help retain traction and avoid skids.
IF YOU NEED HELP
PSEG-LONG ISLAND: 800-490-0075
FIRE AND POLICE: Call 911
LIRR: 516-822-LIRR in Nassau. 631-231-LIRR in Suffolk. 718-217-LIRR in Queens. Visit mta.com. You can also sign up for email alerts at mta.info/alert/alertlirr.htm.
U.S. COAST GUARD: 203-468-4401
AIRPORT DELAYS: fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp or faa.gov/wireless on cellphone