Winter Safety Tips: Preventing Falls

Cold, wet winter weather can bring treacherous roadways, sidewalks and parking lots. Each year, Loudoun County emergency medical personnel respond to numerous calls for injuries due to slips and falls during icy conditions. Injuries from falls can lead to long-term health problems as well as time away from work and family. Loudoun County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management officials remind residents of the dangers that bad weather brings and offer a few tips on how to stay safe in the winter.


  • Wear proper foot gear with good traction; Rubber soles work best
  • Take smaller steps when walking
  • Walk slowly and never run on icy ground
  • Keep both hands free for balance rather than in your pockets
  • Use handrails if available
  • Test potentially icy spots by tapping the area with your foot
  • Step carefully, don't jump out of vehicles
  • Keep walkways clear
  • Avoid carrying large loads that limit your line of vision

Safe Winter Walking

  • Plan ahead; allow sufficient time and plan your route
  • Walk in designated walkways
  • If the walkway is covered with ice, travel along grassy areas for traction
  • When entering buildings, remove snow and water from shoes to prevent slipping

When It's Icy

  • Take short steps or shuffle
  • Bend slightly, walk flat-footed with your center of gravity over your feet
  • Be prepared to fall
  • If you fall, avoid using your arms to protect against breaks
  • Roll with the fall; Try to twist and roll backwards, rather than falling forward
  • Toss your load; Protect yourself instead of the objects being carried