How to avoid slips and falls on ice this winter

Every year at this time it tends to feel like winter has arrived a little earlier. This seems especially true for the Ottawa region after receiving a blast of winter this past week. As the days grow shorter and the snow and ice builds up, the chances of a nasty slip or fall increase.

If you’re like us you don’t like to stop going out and want to remain as active as possible during the colder months but want to prevent the possibility of a serious fall, which could endanger your health and safety.

Given this, we have compiled a quick list of tips and tricks to help avoid a potentially harmful fall during this winter season.

Get a pair of good winter boots. If you don’t already have a trusty pair of winter boots we suggest getting yourself a pair. With the holidays close you could even add these to your wish list. When choosing a pair of winter boots look for:

· Large rubber soles with a good grip

· A high zip or tie up to support your ankles while you walk

· Insulation to keep your feet warm and dry in sub-zero weathers

Take your time when getting in and out of your vehicle. Ice can form on more than just your car windshield and headlights. Be cautious and observant when entering or exiting your car as ice could have built up underneath your vehicle while it was parked. Take a little extra time when clearing your car off to scrape down running boards, door frames or any other surfaces you use to support yourself when entering or exiting your vehicle.

Be cautious at building entrances and busy areas. Icy surfaces tend to form in high traffic places like at the entrance to buildings and other busy areas such as parking lots and along pedestrian pathways. Be cautious of ice on the ground, but also falling ice off the sides of buildings. Oftentimes buildings will provide salt or sand outside main entrances, so if you notice an icy patch and can do so carefully, spread some salt or sand so others avoid slipping.

Avoid icy areas as much as possible. This one sounds like a no-brainer, but if you cannot avoid an icy area follow the following tips to traverse it as safely as possible:

· Don’t walk with your hands inside your pockets and ensure you are wearing gloves or mittens. If you do slip you’ll likely be thankful you had protected hands to help break your fall;

· Walk as flat footed and cautiously as possible when in an icy area. Take your time and don’t rush;

· If possible, test the ice by tapping your foot on a small area before proceeding. If you can avoid the area completely take a different route.

Report any uncleared sidewalks or City owned property. Depending on where you live in the City, or if you live in a small town or community, it may be the responsibility of your local government to clear municipally owned property like sidewalks and pathways. It’s important to know if it is the responsibility of homeowners or the City for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks and other public spaces. If you notice an untreated surface call 3-1-1 and report it to the City.

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