Staying safe when the snow turns to ice
Posted at: 12/20/2011 10:00 AM
At this point in the winter, we are used to dealing with the slush and snow. However, when that snow turns into ice, a whole new set of problems arise. Even small accumulations of ice can cause a significant hazard. An ice storm occurs when freezing rain falls and freezes immediately on impact; communications and power can be disrupted for days, and even small accumulations of ice may cause extreme hazards to motorists and pedestrians.
“Ice can be a very dangerous form of precipitation,” said Leighton Jones, Director of Disaster and Emergency Services for the American Red Cross of the Finger Lakes NY Region. “Ice is heavier than snow, and of course it’s slick, so by its very nature it is dangerous.”
In the event of an ice storm, the Red Cross recommends that you take some basic steps:
• Avoid downed power lines.
• Avoid unnecessary travel. Your safest place during a winter storm is indoors. About 70 percent of winter deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.
• Keep an ice scraper with a broom inside your car in case you are caught away from home when the storm hits and need to travel.
• Use non-clumping kitty litter to generate temporary traction on icy surfaces. Rock salt will melt ice on walkways but can damage vegetation and concrete. Other, less damaging, ice melting products are available from building supplies stores.
• Stay abreast of impending bad weather by tuning into the National Weather Service.