slippery highway in wintertime

Safety 101: Stay Safe and Healthy This Holiday Season

During this festive time of year, it’s important to be aware of the various hazards that come with the holidays — and be prepared. Whether you’ll be on the road or staying cozy at home, Chief Randy Burba offers tips and resources to help you make this the best — and safest — holiday season ever.

Be a Winter Weather Warrior

Working in extreme weather can be hazardous to those without adequate training, clothing and gear. To minimize and avoid injuries, campus safety, law enforcement, grounds, emergency management and other professionals working outdoors should take precautions such as:

  • Wear multiple layers of moisture-wicking clothing and outer gear, and remember to always protect your head, hands and feet.
  • Drink plenty of fluids because cold weather suppresses thirst and dehydration can occur without proper fluid intake.
  • Take periodic breaks to warm up, especially if wind velocity increases or the temperature drops.
  • Carry an extra supply of hand and feet warmers, batteries and flashlights.
  • Learn the symptoms of cold-related injuries: heavy shivering followed by no shivering; severe fatigue; confusion and disorientation; blue skin; and slowed pulse and breathing.
  • Ensure you and your staff members aren’t exposed to extreme weather conditions such as freezing temperatures and windchill for a dangerous amount of time (the National Weather Service provides a user-friendly windchill chart and calculator to estimate safe exposure times).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Campaign website offers information and resources on Winter Storms and Extreme Cold to help you prepare for and learn from winter storms, a Winter Weather Safety Social Media Toolkit that contains winter weather safety and preparedness messages you can share on social media channels, and other related winter resources.

Holiday Health Tips

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide Holiday Health and Safety Tips on traveling safely, managing stress, preparing for winter weather, preventing injuries, handling food and more. The tips are also provided in Spanish and can be downloaded or printed to share.

Safety When Leaving Campus

  • Lock the doors and windows to your residence hall, house, apartment or office and take all keys with you.
  • Take valuable personal property home with you. If you leave anything of value in your home or office, secure it in a locked closet or cabinet. Store your bike in a legal and secure location using a U-lock.
  • Prepare your vehicle for any road trips and check for any safety issues like fluid levels or tire pressure. If you’re leaving a car on campus find a well-lit spot where you can park it, remove all valuables and lock the doors.
  • Talk to your roommates about when everyone is coming and going.
  • If you stay on campus, keep an eye out for any suspicious persons or activities and call your campus safety or police department if you see anything that doesn’t seem quite right.
Randy Burba

Randy Burba