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Snow Tips From the Snow & Ice Management Association

Safe Walking in Snow and Ice and in Days Following a Significant Snowfall When Melting and Refreezing Occur

MILWAUKEE--Falls account for more than 1M injuries in the U.S. annually. The most common type of walking accident is the slip and fall. For example the type of fall that happens when you fall walking on a sidewalk, parking lot or street not clear of snow or ice.

"The most dangerous part of a snow storm may be the day or days following the snow when sunny skies and higher temperatures during the day melt the snow, and lower temperatures at night refreeze the melted snow, creating a cycle that could continue for days, creating a hazardous condition for walking and driving," said Martin B. Tirado, CAE, Executive Director of the Milwaukee-based Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA).

SIMA, the North American nonprofit organization representing the snow removal industry, has these tips on safe winter walking.

• TIP #1: Wear proper footwear. Proper footwear should place the entire foot on the surface of the ground and have visible treads. Avoid a smooth sole and opt for a heavy treaded shoe with a flat bottom.

• TIP #2: Be careful when you shift your weight. When stepping off a curb or getting into a car, be careful since shifting your weight may cause an imbalance and result in a fall. The same theory applies if you are carrying something such as grocery bags or a child--the imbalance can cause you to slip and fall.

• TIP #3: Plan ahead. While walking on snow or ice on sidewalks or in parking lots, be aware of your surroundings. Instead of just looking down, pause and look up occasionally to see where your feet will move next to anticipate ice or an uneven surface. Occasionally scan from left to right to ensure you are not in the way of vehicles or other hazards.

• TIP #4: Conditions nice for ice. Watch for areas where melting and refreezing may persist for weeks. These areas may include parking lot drainage areas, roof gutters, piles of snow where melting and refreezing can continue for weeks. Also posing threats are areas where snow melts from overhangs and then refreezes, where melted water may pool between parking spaces or buildings, or walkways with trees dripping water on sidewalks.

• TIP #5: Anticipate black ice. Watch for thin sheets of ice that may appear as wet pavement (black ice). Often ice will appear in the morning, in shady spots or where the sun shines during the day and melted snow refreezes at night.

• TIP #6: Walk even slower on stairs. When walking up or down outdoor steps or stairways, be sure to grip handrails firmly and plant your feet securely on each step.

• TIP #7: Avoid taking shortcuts. Shortcuts are a good idea if you are in a hurry, but may be a bad idea if there is snow and ice on the ground. A shortcut path may be treacherous because it is likely to be located where snow and ice removal is not possible.

• TIP #8: Enter a building carefully. When you get to your destination such as school, work, shopping center, etc., be sure to look at the floor as you enter the building. The floor may be wet with melted snow and ice.

Following these tips will help ensure that you survive the snow and ice season safely. For more snow and ice removal tips, visit SIMA.

About the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA)

Founded in 1996, the Snow & Ice Management Association is the North American trade association for snow removal professionals. SIMA members help you get to work, school, the grocery store, the hospital, a sporting event, a shopping mall or even home by clearing snow from commercial parking lots and residential communities.


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