San Antonio firefighters, health officials see high volume of calls for slips, falls due to icy conditions

Study: A fall could be as painful as being in a car accident

A woman walks through falling snow in San Antonio, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. Snow and ice blanketed large swaths of the U.S. on Sunday, prompting canceled flights, making driving perilous and reaching into areas as far south as Texas’ Gulf Coast, where snow and sleet were expected overnight. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Winter weather has caused dangerous conditions for people not only on the road but for those on foot too, San Antonio officials have warned.

The City of San Antonio on Monday said firefighters have received “a high number of emergency calls” for people slipping and falling due to the snow and ice that covered the area during the storm.

Officials said solid sheets of ice under the snow can cause people to fall — an injury that could be as painful as being in a car accident, according to a study from Brigham Young University.

Craig Nuttall, a nurse practitioner who was one of the researchers in the study, told that slipping and falling could result in traumatic brain injuries, as well as broken bones and hip injuries.

One San Antonio health system said the hospital’s emergency rooms are seeing “a ton” of calls for slips and falls, ranging from minor injuries to concussions to fractures.

Elizabeth Allen, a spokesperson for University Health, told KSAT that medical staff members are also treating a few cases of cold exposure and hypothermia.

“Staffing is at a lower number than usual but a number of our team stayed overnight at the hospital to avoid the risky commute,” Allen told KSAT. “Between that and the fact that overall ER volume is down, we are in good shape to continue providing service.”

With temperatures staying below freezing, the ice is likely not going anywhere soon.

The San Antonio Fire Department said people heading outside should walk slowly and carefully, and wear boots or other shoes that are slip-resistant if possible.

Other tips include walking as flat-footed as possible, avoid uneven surfaces if possible, avoid steps or curbs with ice on them, and watch for slippery floors.

Please be careful and keep in mind that there are solid sheets of ice underneath the snow, which can be very dangerous....

Posted by San Antonio Fire Department on Monday, February 15, 2021

Fire officials are also warning people to not walk down the middle of a road where there could be traffic.

“If you get injured there could be a delay in response so play it safe,” officials said in a Facebook post on Monday morning.

The San Antonio - Bexar County Office of Emergency Management issued a public safety alert Sunday afternoon, warning residents that all major highways and other roads are closed due to the icy conditions.

San Antonio and Bexar County officials issued an emergency alert Sunday afternoon, warning residents that many streets and highways would be closed due to the icy conditions. (KSAT)

Residents are urged to avoid travel and stay home, as the wintry weather continues to impact the South Texas region.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.