Ice & Cold Water Safety

It’s getting chilly out there, which means it’s time to brush up on our ice and cold water safety. Cold water is any water that is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This may not seem that bad, but cold water can rob the body of heat 25 to 30 times more quickly than air. This escape of body heat can lead to hypothermia and death.

It is important to understand the symptoms of hypothermia so you can recognize it quickly. The most obvious symptoms are confusion, lack of coordination, slurred speech, uncontrollable shivering, and unconsciousness. If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or others there are steps to take to help someone with hypothermia.

First, always call for medical help immediately. Then, if the situation is safe for yourself, remove the victim from the cold water or air. Once they are out of the cold area, remove any wet clothing and keep them as dry as possible. It is very important to keep the victim as warm as possible. So, wrap them up in blankets and build a fire to raise their temperature. Giving them warm liquids to drink will warm their internal temperature, just make sure it includes no alcohol or caffeine. Finally you can place the victim in a warm bath with their arms and legs out of the water, this helps their core temperature rise first.

Hopefully, no one finds themselves in a situation where the above tips for helping with hypothermia victims is necessary. To help prevent that situation from happening the following are useful tips for preventing hypothermia before it starts. Always wear layers of warm clothing in cold environments. It is especially useful to cover your hands and head with hats and gloves. Everyone should keep as dry as possible. When near cold water make sure to always wear a personal floatation device. To make sure you can always start a fire, carry matches in a waterproof container.

If you plan to walk out onto ice remember that there is no surefire way to recognize if ice is safe. There are many factors to recognizing ice safety; including thickness, temperature, age, depth of water under the ice, etc. All of these things factor into whether ice is safe or not and none of them create a situation that is 100 percent safe. Another factor to remember is that ice on moving water is never safe.

Reach-Throw-Go. These are the three words someone should remember if a companion falls through ice. The first step is to simply reach for the victim and try to pull them out. If you are unable to reach the person from shore the first step is to throw them something they can grab onto. This can include a rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc. As a last resort, go find help before you also fall through the ice. Immediately after the victim is safe and out of the ice call for medical assistance.

If you yourself fall through the ice the first step is to not panic. Next you will want to go towards the direction you came from and place your arms on the unbroken surface of ice. Using your feet kick yourself out of the water and remain lying flat on the ice. Roll away, never stand back on the ice, and crawl until you return to solid ice or ground.

These tips will help you and the people you are with during this holiday season be safe and have fun in the outdoors. Still, perhaps the best advice one could have for outdoor safety is to always be mindful of your surroundings and respect the environment around you.

Haunting Halloween Fire Hazards

What’s one thing all ghouls, mummies, goblins, vampires, monsters and witches have in common? They are all flammable. Yes, on even Halloween fire safety is an important part of planning your costumes and celebrations. From a simple Jack-O-Lantern mishap to a flaming costume malfunction, there are a lot of fire hazards present during Halloween.

Beware of Attacking Costumes!
To make sure you and your children aren’t victims of attacking clothing, take a few simple precautions. Avoid costumes with long tails, trails or billowing fabrics, as these can ignite if they sweep too close to a heat source. Whether buying or making costumes, look for fabrics that are flame resistant or flame retardant. And always ensure eyeholes in masks or hoods are big enough for your child to see out of in all directions.

Be Afraid of the Dark!
Trick-or-Treating is one of the best parts of Halloween, no matter what age you are. However, since it involves hundreds of kids walking around at night, you need to be extra cautious. Make sure every child is equipped with a flashlight or glow sticks. You can even dress each kid in glow sticks as part of their costume! This ensures you and everyone else can see your kids.

Decorations of Doom!
Before you turn your home into the ultimate haunted house, you need to find the right decorations that bring the right amount of horror without causing any real horrors. If you plan to use paper, plastic or other disposable decorations, make sure you don’t place them near any kind of heat source including light bulbs. Many decorations are highly flammable, so read all precautions before hanging them up. Use flameless candles instead of real candles to give your home some spooky lighting. And even though it might seem cool to turn your entry way into a doorway to the dark world, make sure none of your decorations are blocking the escape.

Jack-O-Lantern Scares!
Carving pumpkins is a classic Halloween tradition. However, it can also be a dangerous endeavor. Before carving the scariest face you can imagine, make sure no children under the age of 10 handle sharp objects. Instead allow children to draw their design for you to carve (but feel free to let them play with the pumpkin guts). When bringing your Jack-O-Lantern to life, opt for flameless candles or glow sticks to avoid your pumpkin getting obliterated by fire.

Warn Your Little Monsters!
Your children can be anything they want for Halloween, as long as you make sure one thing they are is safe. Talk with your kids about safety while walking to and from houses, when approaching homes, and how to avoid fire or other Halloween hazards. The more you talk with your kids and prepare them, the more likely you will all have a Happy Halloween!