Keeping safe in winter

by Kat Dzelme | Staff Writer
Published: Last Updated on

Winter brings new safety concerns every time it rolls into Indianapolis. Auto and health precautions need to be taken for people to be prepared for this winter season.

Some fears about the weather include getting sick because the cold weather provides more opportunity for sickness to spread.

“I’m more concerned about getting sick than [about] ice,” said senior math major Sebastien Logan.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those working outside or just commuting need to wear layers of light and warm clothing, mittens and waterproof boots.

Warthan

Ice, however, can still be a problem. Sprinkling sand or cat litter over ice patches can help traction and prevent a fall.

For those who wish to stay in shape during the winter, there are facilities on campus such as the weight room in the basement of Ruth Lilly and in the Athletic and Recreation Center. The ARC also has a track that can be used for various exercises. Nicoson is also open until midnight during the week.

For commuters, or those who want to run outside, Head Wrestling Coach Jason Warthan advised being careful about the distance.

“Often runners will run in loops, but in the winter, you want to run in smaller loops, in case it is too cold and you need to go back,” he said. “That way you won’t have to run all the way back. Neighborhoods are good for this.”

Winter brings new safety concerns but that does not mean that standard safety does not apply.

“Some people like to listen to music, but there is a danger that they can’t hear what is going on,” Warthan said. “So if you are going to listen to music, only put one ear bud in, so you can still hear if something happens. You also have to remember to run against traffic, so you can see what is going on.”

While winter brings new safety concerns, it also provides opportunity for those who wish to exercise.

“Shoveling snow is actually a great workout,” Warthan said. “When high schools have snow days, I see coaches telling their players to shovel snow off of the sidewalk or something to keep them active.”

The CDC emphasizes that people should be prepared in case something happens in the winter. For example, be sure to carry a cell phone at all times and be sure that the phone is fully charged. In your car, have an up-to-date emergency kit, which the CDC says should include blankets, food, water, booster cables, flares, tire pump, a bag of sand or cat litter, compass, maps, flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, first-aid kit and plastic bags for sanitation.

Cars also need additional care during the cold season. Simple things such as using winterized formula in your windshield wiper fluid can make a difference. Try to keep the gas tank full to avoid ice getting into the empty space in the tank and fuel lines.

If a car does not have all-weather tires, replacing the current tires with all-weather or snow tires can help the car maintain traction. Even if you have such tires on your car, make sure to check the tire traction before driving on icy roads.

One of the most important things to take care of is the house. The roof should be checked for leaks and the gutters should be cleaned out.

Make sure the heating system is functioning properly and is clean. The CDC recommends that people get their heating systems served professionally to make sure they are clean and have proper ventilation. Make sure fireplaces and chimneys also are clean.

Because of heavy use in the winter, these systems are prone to start fires if there is any debris in them. Also, make sure smoke detectors in the house have fresh batteries and are working properly.

Carbon monoxide poisoning also can be a concern.  The CDC recommends that people purchase CO detectors for their homes. To prevent such CO exposure, make sure that grills, camp stoves and heaters are kept out of the house,  including the basement or garage and generators are kept at least 20 feet from the house.

It will take some time for your car to heat up to melt ice and snow. Use that time to do something else while the car is heating up. It is safer than trying to drive while looking through the small part of the windshield that is not frosted over.

For more information about the CDC’s safety precautions, go to www.cdc.gov/features/winterweather.

Recommended for You