Healthcare facilities around the country see drastic increases in falls and fractures during the winter months. Most often, this is a result of falls outside the home as a result of ice and snow. Oakley Home Access wants to help everyone stay safe by sharing some information on fall prevention and helping clients make informed decisions about the equipment we can provide. Here are some tips that may help you safely navigate the winter season.
Prevent Slips and Falls
The first and most important element to prevent slips and falls is to be cognizant of the environment. When the weather is cold enough for ice and snow to accumulate, taking deliberate and slow steps can help avoid falls. These deliberate steps should be slower than your normal gait pattern, and should include walking “flat footed”. It is important to not walk too quickly where momentum could cause a slip on ice. As always we recommend supportive shoes with slip resistant, treaded soles.
Winter conditions can also cause falls INSIDE the home. When coming in with wet or snow covered shoes, ensure they are placed on a mat or towel to prevent puddles from building inside the home. These wet spots can cause falls for unsuspecting people in the home. Additionally, it is important to store bulky shoes and boots in a space where they won’t be tripped over.
Finally, take your time. It is important to not carry too many bags or boxes from the car into the house. Doing so can shift your center of gravity and cause unsteadiness. It also is beneficial to have at least one hand free in order to steady yourself, balance, and utilize railings. Making extra trips and allotting extra time are primary strategies essential to preventing falls.
Caring For Your Aluminum Ramp in Winter
Here at Oakley Home Access we install 100% Aluminum Modular ramps to increase home accessibility and to assist in maximizing mobility for our customers.
One of the reasons we utilize aluminum ramp systems is that they perform well in the winter conditions. These ramps have bilateral hand railings that we recommend are used at all times. The ramps are designed to drain away water and prevent ice buildup through strategic drainage points on the system. Additionally, the ramps are highly treaded to offer traction for its users. Due to its metal composition, we recommend wearing gloves in the winter as the aluminum handrails can be quite cold in the winter months.
All of our ramps come with a lifetime warranty to help ensure stress-free ownership. The only recommended maintenance is to keep the ramp clean and free of debris buildup. Below we have outlined some important tips for caring for your aluminum ramp system during the winter months.
PET SAFE ice melt is the only safe melt for your ramp. Using standard rock salt will VOID the lifetime warranty. Extra traction can be provided by using cat litter. We additionally recommend that you use a plastic edged shovels for heavy snow removal to avoid damage to treads (and your shovel).
Visually inspect your ramp regularly. Your ramp is leveled with adjustable legs, and during winter months the ground will freeze which could alter the position of the legs. Although the shift will be minimal and the ramp will be perfectly safe to use, call Oakley Home Access if you believe the ramp needs adjustment.
Oakley Home Access serves our communities in RI, MA, and Eastern CT. We are here for you if you need more information or have other questions about winter safety. Our showroom at 322 S. Pier Rd Narragansett, RI is open Monday through Friday and we welcome you to stop by to see and learn more about the adaptive equipment that we have on display.