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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Friday: Minnesota Winter Hazard Safety Week — November 8-12, 2010

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This week is Winter Hazard Safety week. Each day is devoted to a different topic concerning winter safety. To help with the effort, cities across the state are holding forums, providing daily winter safety tips and publicizing the effort in local newspapers and on city websites.

The week is broken down as:

Facts

  • Each year, hundreds of Minnesotans find themselves stranded on the roadside.
  • Winter weather can kill an unprepared person who is exposed to the elements within minutes.

Safe Behavior

  • Assemble winter survival kits for all of your vehicles. Keep them inside the vehicle where they will be readily accessible. The kit should include:
    • Three-pound coffee can, candle stubs and matches which can be used to melt snow for additional drinking water
    • Metal or plastic cup
    • Red bandanna and a plastic whistle to alert rescuers to your location
    • Pencil and paper
    • First aid kit, including any essential medications
    • Plastic flashlight with spare batteries (reverse the batteries to avoid accidental switching and burnout, and replace batteries yearly)
    • Two large plastic garbage bags, safety pins (bags are for insulation for feet, safety pins keep the bags together)
    • Snack foods for energy, such as candy bars.
  • Some other items that you should carry include gloves or mittens, winter boots, a blanket and/or sleeping bag, jumper cables, a basic toolbox, shovel, bag of sand or other grit for traction, tow cable or chain, road flares and reflectors. You could also consider an extra set of dry clothing or a snowmobile suit.
  • Whenever traveling in winter, call ahead to your destination and tell when you intend to leave, your travel route, and your expected time of arrival.
  • If you become stranded, never leave your vehicle. Your chances of survival greatly increase if you stay put.
  • Consider carrying a cellular phone for use during emergencies. Find a safe place to pull off the road when you need to make a call.

Identifying the reason behind the week the HSEM press release identified the issues:

Over the last 10 years, more than 50 people drowned after falling through thin ice, and 65 percent of ice drownings were vehicle related. Last winter, 22 people died in snowmobile accidents; half those fatal events involved alcohol or drug use. And during 2005–2007 in Minnesota, officers reported snow or icy road conditions in nearly 41,000 crashes that resulted in 159 deaths and 13,000 injuries. Clearly, people are being “surprised” by weather conditions."

The plan is, no matter how harsh the winter, to make sure everyone is safe and alive at the end of it.