Thursday, January 11, 2018

SNOW SPORTS SAFETY AND COLD WEATHER EMERGENCY CARE

For much of the U.S., the snowy season is well underway. Before your family heads out for a day of playing in the fresh powder, make snow sports safety a priority and be ready to respond to a cold weather emergency.
Children’s Hospital of Colorado offers these timely tips for neighborhood sledders and skaters:
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  • Choose a good sledding hill, one that has a clear path without obstacles in the way. Make sure that the hill does not end on a street, road, parking lot or any bodies of water such as a pond or river.
  • Never sled downhill headfirst.Sit up facing forward to steer. Risks of head and back injuries are greater by lying down on the sled.
  • If you aren’t skating in a rink, be sure to call local authorities to ask which areas have been approved and to ask permission to skate on a pond or lake.
  • Make sure your skates are sharpened and that the weather has been cold enough for at least one week before skating on a pond or lake.
For skiers and snowboarders, safety becomes an even greater concern. January is National Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Month, reminding us that the most important piece of gear you can take to the mountain is the appropriate helmet for your sport. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a study that compared seven “extreme sports” activities found that:
  • Skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing and motocross had the highest number of head and neck injuries
  • Snowboarding had the most concussions. In fact, about 30% of concussions in extreme sports occurred in snowboarding. Snow skiing was associated with about 25% of concussions.
Always wear your helmet and always ski or board within your ability level. For more on skiing and boarding injuries, see our blog post Winter Sports Safety.
No matter your choice of snow sports, be sure you are adequately dressed for winter weather. As the recent frigid conditions across the country have shown, cold temperatures can be deadly.
Hypothermia and Emergency CareCold, wet temperatures can result in a lowering of the internal body temperature. Hypothermia, a generalized cooling of the body, occurs when the internal core body temperature has decreased to 95° F or less. It is a life-threatening condition.
To help recognize hypothermia, look for pale, cold skin, uncontrollable shivering, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking and an altered mental status. Severe hypothermia can result in the loss of shivering and a slowing of the breathing and heart rate.
To care for the person, carefully and gently move them to a warmer place. Remove wet clothing and cover the person with something dry and warm. Cover their head and neck to retain body heat.
If available, activate EMS and get an AED. As the body temperature gets lower, body processes become impaired and eventually fail. Cardiac arrest may occur.
If you are far from professional medical care, begin actively re-warming the person. Place him near a heat source. Put containers of warm, but not hot, water in contact with the person’s skin.
To learn more about cold weather emergency care and a wide range of other first aid topics, consider taking an ASHI or MEDIC First Aid class. You can find a Training Center near you by clicking here.
Note to First Responders: If you and your crew need continuing education training to fulfill your requirements and help you meet the challenges of responding to winter emergencies, the 24-7 library offers courses on:

  • Cold Weather Emergencies: Hypothermia
  • Sports Injuries
  • Extreme Sports Injuries: Extremity Trauma

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Some things you shouldn't leave in your car

As a winter storm is expected to dump snow and ice all along the East Coast this week and temperatures continue to drop, here are some things you shouldn't leave in your car:
Cellphones
Apple advises against storing the iPhone or iPad at temperatures below negative-4 degrees, and they shouldn't be operated at temperatures lower than 32 degrees. There are similar recommendations for Samsung phones and other electronics. Lithium-ion batteries popular in cellphones are the most vulnerable component to cold, USA TODAY reports. They can stop working in extreme cold but should be OK once you get back indoors. However, repeated exposure to subzero temperatures can cause problems. 
Soda or beer
Water expands when it freezes. And for canned liquids under pressure, that can mean explosion. The freeze temperature for Coca-Cola is 30 degrees, and the temperature for beer that's 5% alcohol by volume is 27 degrees (higher-alcohol beers freeze at lower temperatures), as NJ.com reported. 
Musical instruments
Things contract when they freeze, so this can cause some instruments to go out of tune. More seriously, "damage can be done when an instrument shrinks as a result of the cold air. If your instrument is made of real wood, the cold air can cause cracking, which is very expensive to repair. Sometimes they are broken beyond repair," according to The Real School of Music. If an instrument is left in a freezing car for a long period, try to make it warm up gradually. 
Eggs
Eggs shouldn't be allowed to freeze in their shells; if that happens, throw away any cracked eggs. Keep the un-cracked ones frozen, and move them to the refrigerator before use. "These can be hard cooked successfully, but other uses may be limited. That's because freezing causes the yolk to become thick and syrupy so it will not flow like an unfrozen yolk or blend very well with the egg white or other ingredients," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service
Canned foods
Letting a can of beans freeze allows for the water to freeze and expand in a similar way to beer and soda. The USDA advises that this can result in a broken seal, causing spoilage. If canned food freezes, allow it to thaw in a refrigerator. "If the product doesn't look and/or smell normal, throw it out. DO NOT TASTE IT! If the seams have rusted or burst, throw the cans out immediately, wrapping the burst can in plastic and disposing the food where no one, including animals can get it," according to the USDA.
Medication
If you're visiting a pharmacy during the deep freeze, consider that some medications can be affected by low temperatures. "Drugs like insulin can lose their effectiveness if they freeze. The same goes for any so-called suspended medication that has to be shaken before use," according to a report in The New York Times
Loved ones
This should be obvious. But it's worth noting that children and elderly people can be more susceptible to hypothermia at cold temperatures, with symptoms such as shivering, confusion and exhaustion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So even limited amounts of time in an unheated vehicle could be dangerous. The same goes for pets.

Issued by the National Weather Service

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT UNTIL 9AM EST WED ...ICY CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED THROUGH THE MORNING COMMUTE... SNOW AND ICE MELT FROM YESTERDAY HAS REFROZE OVERNIGHT. AS A RESULT, SLIPPERY CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE, PRIMARILY ON UNTREATED SURFACES. USE EXTRA CAUTION ON THE MORNING COMMUTE. TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO RISE ABOVE FREEZING AGAIN LATER THIS MORNING IN ALL BUT THE HIGHEST ELEVATIONS OF NORTHWESTERN NEW JERSEY AND NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

15 Things to Have in Your Car This Winter

Blankets are the most important thing you can possibly have with you. If you bury your car in a snowdrift and it won’t start, the ability to keep yourself warm is going to be absolutely vital. Blankets are the best way to do this. I also keep a few hand warmers, too.
A spare charged cell phone will allow you to call 9-1-1 in a pinch. Keep this wrapped up in the blankets so that it’ll be likely to survive a crash without suffering irrepairable damage.
Flares will help rescuers see you. If they’re searching and all they can see is white, a flare will make all the difference in your discovery.
wind-up radio lets you keep tab with the weather regardless of whether or not you have electricity in your car. A simple winding will do the trick and let you know when conditions have improved and what the state of roads are.
first aid kit will be vital if someone is hurt in an accident. Perhaps just as important is knowledge of how to use it, because knowing how to apply a leg splint can be very, very important in such a moment.
Extra winter clothes will help you keep warm, especially if you need to leave the vehicle. Layers are key – the more layers of clothes you can put on, the warmer you’ll be down at the surface of your skin.
Jumper cables come in extraordinarily handy on cold mornings when your car doesn’t start. Quite often, it’s the result of a battery that became overly cold overnight and can be started with the help of another vehicle and some jumper cables.
A bag of sand not only adds weight to your car (improving traction) but can be spread to help you get traction if you get stuck in a bad position.
An ice scraper – preferably one with a brush to help remove snow – comes in constant handy throughout the winter. Without it, it will be very difficult to keep your windows cleared.
Dried foods like beef jerky and granola bars are perfect for this type of situation, as they’re energy dense. Don’t keep water or other liquids in your car – they’ll explode if stored below freezing for a long period and you can likely get plenty of liquid in a blizzard – just look outside.
Emergency tire sealant can enable you to get to the next twon in a pinch rather than being stuck beside the road with a flat tire.
Flashlights allow you to see what’s going on and also aid in signaling help. Although flashlights operated by human action exist, they’re not very bright – get one with a very bright bulb and make sure it’s charged.
A shovel will help you to dig out in a pinch. I used to keep one in my truck when I commuted – there simply isn’t room in the car, however (I wish we did have room).
small tool kit can allow you to fix minor problems yourself on your car. Make sure you have everything you need to (at least) change a tire and loosen or tighten some bolts.
Extra batteries for the flashlight and the radio (assuning you don’t have a wind-up one) are vital. The last thing you want to do is to get stuck, pull out the radio or the flashlight, flip ’em on, and find that they don’t work.
These tools will help you survive almost any winter weather accident, no matter how bad the storm. By keeping warm and safe and making sure that you can signal to help, you’re doing everything you can to ensure your future.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Stay healthy in winter

Now that we're heading into the season when colds, flu, stomach bugs, and other infections can run rampant, it’s an ideal time to review strategies that can help us stay healthy this winter.
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Picking up the germs that cause these infections is as easy as touching a contaminated person or surface and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. That's something we do an average of 15.7 times an hour, according to a study at University of California, Berkeley.
Frequent hand-washing is the leading expert-recommended infection-prevention strategy. But a few additional steps can also help you stay healthy this winter. Here, a quick rundown of the other strategies everyone should adopt and how to keep your germs to yourself if you do get sick:

1. Use the Right Soap

You can skip the antibacterial stuff—which has ingredients such as triclosan, which was recently banned by the Food and Drug Administration. The agency declared that there’s no evidence antibacterial soap eradicates bacteria any better than regular soap, and it may contribute to the rise in antibiotic-resistant superbugs as well as disruptions in hormonal regulation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends scrubbing with basic soap and water for a full 20 seconds to reduce the number of bacteria or viruses you may have picked up on your hands. 

2. Avoid the Handshake

It’s becoming more common—and less socially awkward—to skip hand-to-hand contact (and the subsequent germ exchange) during cold and flu season.
“Fist bumps and elbow bumps are replacing the handshake in many settings,” says William Schaffner, M.D., professor of preventive medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. “Among my infectious-disease colleagues I see a version of the South Asian ‘Namaste,’ where we put our hands together at our chests, make eye contact, and give a little bow.”  

3. Cover Coughs and Sneezes Properly

If you’re the one who’s spewing germs, one way to keep them to yourself is to sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow. “When you cough or sneeze, that air comes out with a good degree of force, spreading virus particles to anyone within a 3- to 6-foot range,” says Lisa Grohskopf, M.D., a medical officer in the Influenza Division at the CDC.
Sneezing or coughing into your hand will help keep the germs from going airborne, but if you don’t wash your hands immediately, you’ll spread the germs the minute you touch anything or anyone.  

4. Keep Your Distance

Respiratory viruses, like colds and flu, can spread easily through the air. “When someone who’s sick exhales, they breathe out microscopic droplets of fluid containing the virus,” Schaffner says. “And anyone else within their ‘breathing zone’ can then breathe in that infected air.”
To stay healthy this winter, put about 6 feet between you and any sick person who is likely to breathe, cough, or sneeze in your direction.  

5. Know That Germs Can Linger

Another reason to wash your hands frequently is that surfaces stay germy for longer than you might think. A study from the University of Buffalo found that stuffed toys, books, and cribs at a day care tested positive for bacteria that cause ear infections and strep throat even after the facility had been closed overnight.
And according to the CDC, flu viruses can live on hard surfaces (such as doorknobs or phones) for 2 to 8 hours.
A 2013 article published in the American Journal of Infection Control noted that the bug that causes norovirus—an extremely contagious viral infection that brings diarrhea and vomiting—can survive for up to seven days on a hard, dry surface. It also found that the bacteria that cause MRSA—a type of staph infection— have been found to survive for months. Even cold germs can live for anywhere from two hours to seven days on hard surfaces, and for about two hours on skin.  

6. Clean Often-Touched Surfaces

Because those bacteria and viruses stick around on surfaces for hours or even days, cleaning is key. “I recommend an approach called 'targeted hygiene,'” says Elizabeth Scott, Ph.D., co-director of the Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community at Simmons College in Boston, and co-author of the 2013 study. “This means targeting cleaning and disinfection practices when and where there is a risk of infection transmission."
Say, for example, that a coworker or family has a respiratory infection. At the office, it would be wise to regularly (at least daily) wipe down shared workspaces and equipment, such as copy machines that everyone in the office touches. At home, focus on hard surfaces—like doorknobs, faucets, and TV remotes—on which bacteria live the longest.
Just as with hand-washing, you can skip the antibacterial cleaning products. Experts say any household cleaner—or a diluted bleach solution—will do the trick.  

7. Get Vaccinated

Although there's no guaranteed protection against influenza, the annual flu vaccine is still your best defense. Experts can’t predict the effectiveness of this year’s vaccine, but for 2016, getting the shot resulted in a 42 percent lower risk of coming down with the flu.
“And if you do get sick, you may have milder symptoms,” Grohskopf says. It takes two weeks after the shot for your immune system to build up the necessary, protective antibodies, so going for you vaccine in the fall—before flu activity ramps up—is ideal. 

8. Know When to Stay Home

“At the height of your symptoms, you need to stay home for one or two days in order to not get other people sick,” says Aaron E. Glatt, M.D., chairman of the department of medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, N.Y.
And while you’re home recovering, take precautions to help the rest of the household stay healthy this winter. Don’t take charge of the family’s food prep while you’re sick, and try to hole up in one room as much as possible in order to keep your germs to yourself.  

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Issued by the National Weather Service

For Northwestern Burlington, New Jersey
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT UNTIL 3:30AM EST SAT ...LOW WATER LEVELS ON THE TIDAL DELAWARE RIVER TONIGHT... A STRONG WEST-NORTHWEST WIND WILL CONTINUE TO RESULT IN LOW WATER LEVELS ON THE TIDAL DELAWARE RIVER TONIGHT. THE LOW WATER LEVELS MAY CAUSE NAVIGATION PROBLEMS OVERNIGHT WITH LOW TIDE ON THE TIDAL DELAWARE RIVER AND ON SOME OF ITS TRIBUTARIES. WATER LEVELS HAD DROPPED TO 2.6 FEET BELOW MEAN LOWER LOW WATER AT PHILADELPHIA JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT. EXPECT SIMILAR VALUES UPRIVER WHEN LOW TIDE OCCURS. A GUSTY WEST-NORTHWEST WIND WILL CONTINUE INTO SATURDAY AND LIKELY CAUSE SIMILAR LOW WATER ISSUES ON THE TIDAL DELAWARE RIVER DURING THE NEXT LOW TIDE CYCLE DURING THE LATE MORNING AND EARLY AFTERNOON.

Friday, January 5, 2018

For Northwestern Burlington, New Jersey

For Northwestern Burlington, New Jersey

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

SNOW SPORTS SAFETY AND COLD WEATHER EMERGENCY CARE

For much of the U.S., the snowy season is well underway. Before your family heads out for a day of playing in the fresh powder, make snow s...