Powder River Examiner -

As Temperatures Warm, Winter Threats Remain


February 9, 2023

By Adam Johnson, PR County EMS Director

As temperatures during the day are increasing community members should be aware of the lower temperatures at night. These fluctuations allow for the current snowpack around town and in the community to harden and become slick. With the recent rain this can increase the chances that minimally slick surfaces can become treacherous sheets of ice as the temperatures drop. Residents and community members are encouraged to keep a watchful eye on these situations as slip and fall injuries increase, especially in our elderly population.

Within the city and throughout the county, road and maintenance crews are diligently working to clear these hazards on the roads and sidewalks to increase the safety of residents. The concern comes in areas that do not receive enough sunlight which can allow for appropriate melting. It is appropriate to use ice melt mixtures to facilitate melting that are also pet safe to reduce unnecessary veterinarian visits of our beloved four legged friends. Using proper tools such as square shovels, ice scrapers, etc. can remove dangerous ice patches reducing the chance of slipping.

Slip and falls related to ice can increase head, neck and pelvic injuries for community residents and visitors. Residents that do have a slip and fall incident are encouraged to contact 9-1-1 to request an ambulance, as some injuries can be hidden from the untrained eye. It is especially important for any child or elderly person to be evaluated if they have fallen and hit their head. If residents are found after falling outdoors and are lying on the ice when encountered by community members Powder River EMS encourages the gentle movement of patient off of the ice and into a position of comfort until the arrival of trained medical providers. Patients that remain on the ice after a fall are at risk for developing varying levels of hypothermia, which can complicate a potentially minor injury to become a greater risk to the patient. If in doubt contact 9-1-1 for emergency medical assistance.

Residents and visitors that are passing through also need to be mindful of the rapid changes of weather from rain to snow conditions. While the temperatures are increasing, winter conditions can still occur without warning. Ensuring that appropriate survival supplies, blankets, spare batteries, etc. are in homes or vehicles when traveling. Notifying friends or family of travel plans, hiking arrangements, or other hunting or exploring activities increases safety. Use of personal locator beacons (PLBs), Garmin devices, SOS, or other similar devices allow for people to make their way to safety or signal for assistance when in need.


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