Stay safe in the storm |

Stay safe in the storm

Rebecca Wass
Special to the Tribune
Danger, ice unsafe sign
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – In the midst of the winter season many people who travel to and live in the Lake Tahoe area may forget about some common winter safety precautions, especially when it’s storming outside.

According to National Weather Service nearly 70 percent of injuries during winter storms result from vehicle accidents, and about 25 percent of injuries result from being caught outside in a storm.

“We see a lot of slips and falls with the older generation,” said Cynthia Burkart, R.N., Interim Director of the Emergency Department and Director of Occupational Medicine at Barton Health. “It’s important for people to walk slower when there is ice and snow about and pick up their feet, take short steps, be cautious, make sure to have good soles on their shoes and do not wear high heels.”

Burkart also suggests that if people do decide to walk in the snow, to be sure and walk toward traffic and wear bright clothing.

“We have found that many people come in with broken wrists, or fall forward and hit their heads,” she said.

When it comes to driving in the winter, she suggests that people stay inside if possible.

“But if you do decide to drive, be sure to have an emergency kit in your car,” Burkart said. “Have your vehicle inspected to ensure the following: all of your brakes, fluids, electrical, battery, tire tread, lights, windshield wipers and defroster are all working properly.”

Since patient visits usually double due to the increase in winter sports activities and slips and falls, Barton Health is taking the proper precautions by increasing staff in the emergency department. Barton’s Emergency Department is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have an emergency call 911.

Barton Urgent Care also is available for the seasonal flu, adult and pediatric illnesses, minor cuts and burns. All walk-ins are welcome. For more information, call 775-589-8900.

– Rebecca Wass is a communications specialist with Barton Health.

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