Winter officially begins today. Snow, ice, and sleet can make for hazardous driving conditions and slippery operations at the emergency scene. Extra care must be taken, especially when moving patients from the incident to the vehicle for transport. Again we must not forget "frost bite" and "hypothermia".
Signs of Frost bite are;, Freezing in deep layers of skin and tissue; pale, waxy-white skin color; skin becomes hard and numb; usually affects the fingers, hands, toes, feet ears and nose.
Signs of Hypothermia are;, body temperature drops to below 95 degrees; fatigue or drowsiness; uncontrolled shivering, cool bluish skin, slurred speech, clumsy movements; irrational or confused behavior.
When responding, assess the weather while going to your vehicle and drive accordingly. Make sure you can see out of all windows. Responding in a safe but timely matter is what counts the most.
To avoid skidding on a slippery road drive at a reduced speed and operate the vehicle’s controls in a smooth and constrained manner. Increasing tire forces, such as braking and accelerating while steering may push tires even closer to a skid condition. It is essential that the vehicles speed is maintained at a safe level and turns be made gently.
If your vehicle begins to skid, do not panic, follow the instructions in your owners manual. Continue to steer in the direction you wish to go. Be careful of oversteering. Once control is regained, brake as instructed in your owner's manual.
All Health and Safety Officers should have made plans for such winter emergencies. Responding from one’s home using care is critical. An accident involving the responder not only creates a problem for the responder but also requires the chief or officer in charge to divert resources or call for mutual aid to answer this additional call. The object is to make it safely to the firehouse and to the incident and return without creating another incident.
Always remember to "buckle-up" and use "Spotters", when backing up. You may think you are safe because you are in an enclosed cab but in an accident you will find yourself bouncing off of the walls that enclose you in the cab. Don't put your Chiefs or Officers in the awkward position of having to inform a loved one that you were injured because you were not buckled up.
FDMNY Board of Director's
From the U.S. Fire AdministrationWinter fire safety tips
We have also created some tips you can share in your emails, tweets, posts, on your websites and blogs.
More fires happen in the winter months than any other time of the year. During the cold months, we spend more time indoors and use different methods to heat our homes. It is important to keep fire safety in mind when you are heating your home.
- If you are using a portable heater:
- Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off so if it tips over, it shuts off.
- Keep anything that can burn such bedding, clothing and curtains at least 3 feet from the heater.
- Plug portable heaters directly into wall outlets. Never use an extension cord or power strip.
- Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
- If you are using a fireplace:
- Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out and starting a fire.
- Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
- Before you go to sleep or leave your home put the fire out completely.
- Put ashes in a metal container with a lid. Store the container outside at least 3 feet from your home.
- If you are using a wood stove:
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned each year by a professional.
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from the stove.
- Do not burn paper in your wood stove.
- Before you go to sleep or leave your home, put the fire out completely.
When heating your home, you need to be aware of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is called the “invisible killer” because it’s a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas. More than 150 people in the U.S. die every year from accidental CO poisoning from generators or fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fire places. Breathing CO at high levels can kill you.
Put CO alarms inside your home to provide an early warning of increasing CO levels. These alarms should be placed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
As always, make sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month. Have a home fire escape plan and practice your plan at least twice a year. Make sure everyone knows how to escape your home if there is a fire.