Mainstream Living

Safety Tips for Winter

Winter weather brings with it safety hazards for people with disabilities. Inaccessible walkways and freezing temperatures are two of the most common obstacles, but there are many other challenges that require careful planning and consideration.  Please see below for helpful tips to keep you and our members safe during the winter. 

  • Consider your wardrobe - Dress appropriately for the weather.  Layers may be necessary to adjust when moving from outdoors to indoors.  Every member should have a warm winter coat, hat, gloves, and boots.  
  • Be sure homes are kept at comfortable temperatures.  Some members, especially those with circulation issues may require extra blankets. 
  • Homes should be prepared in case of power outages or winter storms.  Extra blankets, flashlights, and non-perishable food items should be on hand. 
  • Dry winter weather can lead to dehydration, chapped lips, and cracked skin.  Drink plenty of water and use moisturizer and/or lip balm as needed. 
  • Walkways at homes should be free of snow and ice.  Use salt or sand for added protection.  Members may require additional assistance while walking to avoid slips, trips, and falls. 
  • Wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and other mobility devices can accumulate snow and ice.  Provide support to members using mobility devices to avoid accidents.  
  • Check weather and road conditions regularly.  The Iowa DOT 511 mobile app provides up to date conditions on major roadways.  
  • When travling, a charged cell phone should be on hand at all times. 
  • Vehicles should be stocked for emergencies with items like jumper cables, blankets, and cell phone chargers. 
  • Be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia or frost bite.  Hypothermia can cause dizziness, confusion, violent shaking, and extreme fatigue.  Frostbite begins as very red, painful skin.  
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