Year-end wrap-up for 2012

Photo credit: mcmortygreen on Flickr

This is my last post for 2012 – then I’m taking a little time to relax with the family before I’m back in the new year.

I’d like to leave you with some safety tips for dealing with a key aspect of the Canadian winter – snow – which can be excellent or annoying, depending on what you are trying to do in it.

Playing in it

It’s fun to play in – so make sure you know about How to choose a helmet if you are sledding, playing hockey, ice skating, skiing, or snowboarding. Of course, it’s cold, so it’s important to dress warmly and avoid hypothermia.

Driving in it

It’s not much fun to drive in the snow.

Photo credit: TranBC

I try to avoid driving in it altogether – but if you have to go make sure you know when it’s Time to shift into winter.

Most of the time, I find alternatives, but if that’s not an option, snow tires make a big difference, as this commuter describes in my post Help for the snowphobic.

Walking in it

It can be lovely, but it can also be dangerous, as the Canada Safety Council reminds us.

“Freezing rain, icy surfaces and piles of hard-packed snow pose a hazard for the innocent pedestrian,” reads Safety Tips for Winter Walking from the CSC.

Removing snow from walkways is the best way to reduce risk, and many communities have a Snow Angel program in which volunteers are matched with people who, due to age and mobility challenges, need help shovelling their walks. Last year in Kamloops, for example, volunteers helped more than 70 seniors, which is awesome to hear. Many other communities have these programs – so look for them online via Google if you want to volunteer or need help.

Shovelling it

It’s the right thing to do – and also required by law in some jurisdictions. The novelty of shovelling snow is something I enjoy, and there are a lot of walkways to clear around my home.

Photo credit: avinashbhat on Flickr

Before you get out there with your shovel, read these tips on avoiding “cold exposure, fatigue, muscular strains and more serious injury, particularly to the lower back” in
Shovelling – Snow from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

“Often the need for shovelling snow arises unexpectedly and interferes with what we had originally planned to do,” it reads.

“Consequently we face this unwanted chore unprepared and, more important, in a hurry to get it over with as fast as possible.”

That describes my feeling towards a lot of chores, actually, but it’s important to tackle the shovelling with care and ask for help if you need it.

Do you have any winter safety tips to share? Let me know – and I’ll see you in 2013.


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