SIDNEY — Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart said the “forbidden four-letter word” Monday during his weekly interview: Snow.
“Winter is right around the corner,” said Lenhart. “Snow is right around the corner too. It’s a great time for having fun outside with sledding and playing in the snow.
“But it’s also a dangerous time when you’re walking on the ice and snow,” he said.
Lenhart said 800,000 people are hospitalized yearly after they fall on the snow or ice.
“Most of the injuries are head injuries,” said Lenhart.
According to insurance claims adjusters, the insurance companies pay our $33,000 per claim.
“That’s $34 billion nationwide that’s being paid for snow and ice fall injuries,” said Lenhart.
Lenhart offered some tips on how to prevent falling on the snow or ice.
“Keep your hands out of your pockets while walking,” said Lenhart. “Also, wear mittens instead of gloves.”
Lenhart said by keeping your hands out of your pockets, you can use your hands to balance yourself as you walk on the snow or ice. By wearing mittens, you’ll be protecting your fingers if you do fall.
“Avoid carrying anything while walking on snow or ice,” said Lenhart. “Your hands give you balance.”
Shoveling snow should also be done with safety in mind.
“If you’re shoveling that white stuff, tell someone you’re going outside so they can keep an eye out for you,” said Lenhart. :Make sure your shoes have heavy tread on them. And if you can walk on the grass instead of the ice.”
If a person has heart problems, he/she should use caution if they are shoveling snow.
“Don’t drink coffee or smoke before you go out to shovel snow,” said Lenhart. “That will increase your heart rate.”
He also recommends having rock salt or kitty litter available to put down on the snow and ice.
“Also have some in your car,” he said. “It can provide temporary traction for you if you get stuck.”
Lenhart also recommends having bottled water in your vehicle, along with an empty bottle, matches and a candle.
“If you get stuck, you can always gather snow and melt it so you have something to drink,” said Lenhart.
Drivers should warm up their vehicles and make sure all windows are clear of ice and snow before they start driving to work or the store.
“Warming up your car helps reduce moisture and condensation on the windows,” said Lenhart. “We get upset when we see people driving with a 50 cent size space cleared on their windshield.”
That, he said, is a disaster waiting to happen.
Winter, he said, can also cause depression in some people — especially those who are home bound.
“This can breed feelings of loneliness,” said Lenhart. “Keep in contact with the seniors you know. Have a check system in place where you call them once a day. Take them our for a meal with you or have them over to your house for a meal.”
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.