British Columbia

Do the penguin waddle and prevent an icy fall

With a deep freeze expected to hit British Columbia this week, here are some tips to keep upright when navigating slushy, snowy and icy terrain.

'All it takes is one misstep on ice and a preventable accident occurs'

According to the Canada Safety Council, mimicking the gait of penguins can help you navigate icy surfaces. (Ben Tubby - CC BY 2.0)

With British Columbians bracing for an Arctic chill this week after being walloped with snow and slush last week, walking in and around the icy aftermath can be a challenge.

Lewis Smith, a spokesperson for the Canada Safety Council, said slips and spills from walking on ice are common and can result in anything from a scrape to broken bones. Although seniors, those with mobility issues and those without proper gear are most vulnerable, anyone can take a tumble.

"All it takes is one misstep on ice and a preventable accident occurs," he said.

It's important to be prepared with the right gear, Smith said, like rubber grips on shoes, warm clothing or even hip protectors that can absorb the shock of the blow.

Sidewalks and driveways should be kept cleared of snow with walkways sanded and salted whenever possible, he added.

Do the penguin

If you have to walk on ice, there's a safe way to do it. Smith recommends "walking like a penguin."

According to the Canada Safety Council, the penguin walk — where you shuffle forward with your feet in a wide stance and your knees bent — can help you navigate icy surfaces. (Mike Panisko/University of Montana/YouTube)

1. Make a wide stance: "[Keep] maybe about a foot between your two feet. That's to give you a wider base, a wider stance, so that you can maintain your balance a little better."

2. Keep your knees loose: "[You should be] sort of hunched over a little bit, and that keeps your centre of gravity down further towards the ground and also improves stability."

3. Waddle: "Take one small step, transfer your weight over slowly with the next foot. [This] keeps the stability and prevents any sudden shifts in weight."       

With files from The Early Edition