(Photo by Michael Baart)

With many Victoria schools shut down for a third day in a row, Island Health has a released a series of safety tips to help residents walk, explore, and work on the snowy island.

The health authority advises that everyone, especially seniors, take things slow and to be extremely cautious when outdoors in snowy and icy conditions.

Island Health also asks that people only use hospital emergency departments for “urgent and acute medical issues”, as ERs are filled with slip and fall incidents, fractures, and motor vehicle crash victims.

If you’re looking to get outside, here are 10 tips from Island Health to help avoid falling in the snow:

  1. Wear proper fitting, supportive footwear.
  2. When walking, focus your centre of gravity over your feet and keep your hands out of your pockets to maintain balance.
  3. Walk slowly, “penguin-walk style” and pay attention to where you are going.
  4. Use handrails when available, especially on steps.
  5. Avoid stepping on ice or snow if possible. If you have to walk on snow aim for where it’s crunchy if you can.
  6. Use a backpack instead of carrying a purse to improve your balance.
  7. Continue to use walking aids (walkers or canes) as ordered for you by a health professional.
  8. Sprinkle sand or salt around your home and on sidewalks to improve traction.
  9. When shovelling snow be aware of the strain on your arms and back.
  10. Pace yourself when shovelling snow.

The health authority is also reminding people that snowy conditions are the perfect time to practice being a good neighbour. Help seniors and your neighbourhood by keeping sidewalks safe.

At the time of publication Victoria is enjoying a cool 1°C, with highs of plus 3 and lows of minus 3 for Wednesday, according to Environment Canada.

The weather is set to warm slowly through the week, with a chance of rain showers or snow flurries on Thursday, then showers or sun and cloud slated until Tuesday.

(Forecast / Environment Canada)


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