From holiday gatherings to activities like sledding and ice skating, there are several reasons people might look forward to the upcoming season. But first responders say with winter right around the corner, a number of common injuries are sure to follow. Our Sarah Blazonis has more on some common mistakes to avoid in the coming months.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- There is no "busiest time of the year" for the EMTs at Rural Metro Medical Services, but when the weather gets colder and snow begins to fall, they know there are certain kinds of injuries they're bound to see on the rise.
"Although the weather has been very cooperative so far this year, we get a lot of calls for falls," said Rural Metro Public Education Supervisor Ed Moser.
Moser says the ambulance service already responded to more than 4,000 falls this year. Icy walkways make these types of injuries even more likely. He recommends using rock salt as soon as slick conditions start. Another household product can help keep the problem from recurring.
"If you use kitty litter on the steps, the best thing about that is it absorbs all the water so it can't freeze. We prefer you use that on slippery steps," said Moser.
When it comes to clearing those walkways in the first place, Moser urges to take it easy and know your limits.
"Take your time. There's no rush," said Moser. "If you start feeling winded or you start to feel a little bit weak, stop, get yourself back together again, and start shoveling again. Try not to do it all at one time."
Other injuries EMTs see all too often happen when people are trimming their trees and can't quite reach that top branch.
Instead of using furniture when decorating, use a step stool. And before any holiday gatherings that children will attend, clear your home of small objects.
"What you want to remember is anything that can fit through the tube of a roll of toilet paper is too small for a child under the age of three," Moser said. "Grapes...they fit perfectly into the tube."
Moser says these seemingly minor incidents can lead to serious injury -- or even death. The good news: they're all totally preventable.