WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – With 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground throughout Westchester and colder temperatures expected through the weekend, it is important for residents to protect themselves from common weather-related injuries.
Erik Larsen, the director of Emergency Medicine at White Plains Hospital, said the emergency room at the hospital was quiet earlier in the day Friday, but started to pick up in the afternoon. He said it is important that residents remain aware of injuries and ailments that the snow and cold weather can cause.
“A lot can be prevented if you take a few simple steps,” Larsen said. He said that some of most common injuries are a result of slips and falls. When the snow is light like this storm, people don’t realize that there could be ice underneath the snow and they slip.
Larsen also said that a lot of people experience strains, and sometimes heart problems, as a result of shoveling snow. He said it is important that people are mindful of their physical condition before going out to shovel.
“You have to be careful when you go out. Especially if you haven’t done a lot of rigorous exercise, because you’re going to be doing some of the most rigorous exercise you can do,” he said.
Larsen said that it is important that people not rush to clear out their driveways if they are not in great shape. “You could be setting yourself up for back strains, muscle strains, or heart problems.”
You can protect yourself from frostbite by bundling up, particularly your extremities like your hands, feet, ears and nose. Larsen said that you should wear a hat that covers your ears, mittens instead of gloves, and wear wool or synthetic socks instead of cotton ones. You should also consider wearing some face protection, particularly if you are going to be out in the wind.
“With a little wind blowing, you can experience frostbite in a number of minutes,” Larsen said. Frostbite can cause irreversible damage, and is usually treated by dipping the affected area in warm water. He said that it is important that, after the area has been re-warmed, you do not go back out into the cold.
Schools were closed Friday in Harrison, Port Chester, Mount Vernon, Greenburgh, Pelham, New Rochelle, Tarrytown and White Plains. Several highways and roads throughout the state were closed down Thursday night, and were re-opened early Friday morning with reduced speed limits. Metro-North trains operated on a Saturday schedule, with about 60 percent of trains of a normal weekday.
Westchester County has several warming centers open for those in need of shelter. The centers include the Jan Peek Shelter in Peekskill, the Samaritan House Shelter in White Plains, the Oasis Shelter in New Rochelle, the Open Arms Shelter in White Plains and the Sharing Community in Yonkers. Families who are seeking shelter or who know of someone seeking shelter should contact Emergency Services at 914-995-2099.