Snow storm: Safety tips from experts

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COLUMBIA – Some Missourians are already preparing for the snow storm on the horizon. KOMU 8’s Chief Meteorologist Kenton Gewecke expects we should see most likely see 6 to 9 inches of snow Friday night to Saturday.

This is the time to prepare for the worst. Two experts told KOMU 8 how to prepare.

Dr. Christopher Sampson, emergency medicine physician, and Barry Dalton, the Spokesman for Columbia Public Works have some tips:

  • Since driving conditions can be dangerous, don’t drive on the roads. Dalton said that if you have to, drive slow and do not tailgate.
  • Have things in your cars such as blankets, water, snacks and emergency roadside equipment.
  • Watch out for black ice. Whether you are in a car or walking on the sidewalk, make sure you go slow. Make sure you wear proper footwear with traction. Sampson said slips and falls can cause head injuries, broken bones or worse.
  • Salt your walkways and driveways before the snow event.
  • When shoveling snow, go slow. It is important to shovel smaller amounts of snow and take frequent breaks. This activity can put a lot of stress on your heart.

“People sometimes don’t realize how exertional it can be to shovel snow and they may not have done exercise for a very long time,” Sampson said. “Hospitals actually see a rise in heart attacks around that time because people stress their heart so much, it leads to a heart attack.”

  • Keep yourself warm. Hypothermia can happen even inside a home.
  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
  • Remember your pets. Pets too can suffer from frostbite and cold weather. Sampson recommends you bring your pets indoors or keep them in a warm spot. If they are going to be outside, they will need to take breaks as well to come in and warm up a little bit.

“The winter weather can be just as dangerous for animals as humans,” Sampson said. 

People can be fined if they park in the way of the plows.

Dalton said there are other reasons to keep the roadways clear of vehicles.

“One of the biggest things we are asking is for residents to voluntarily move vehicles off the roads on major snow routes,” Dalton said. “The plows can go more quickly and are safer.”

Sampson said that if you feel chest pains, shortness of breath or dizziness to call 911.