PLATTSBURGH — Former Schroon official Ed Haroff died Friday from a head injury he suffered on Christmas Day when he slipped and fell on the ice.
“All he was doing was going out walking his dog around the holidays,” Jay Town Supervisor Randy Douglas said. “It shows you how quickly that can happen.
“It was very sad.”
That tragedy cemented the Jay supervisor’s concerns about icy sidewalks and driveways, an issue since a storm before the holidays.
That ice event was followed by another, and on Saturday morning, rain on frozen roadways sent numerous vehicles skidding.
Haroff was a retired state trooper.
As of Jan. 1, CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh had seen a 25 percent increase in ice-related injuries, according to Chris Blake of the Public Relations and Marketing Department.
“I can tell you it’s only gone up since,” she said.
Friday, concerned about weekend forecasts for rain that would increase the ice danger, Douglas declared a State of Emergency to allow citizens to acquire sand from the municipality to make their properties safer.
“Legally, the only way to do so is to have a State of Emergency declared,” Douglas said, noting that he reached the decision after discussions with the Town Council and the town attorney.
“If it saves one life, or if it saves anybody from an injury, that would be worth it.”
Douglas himself took a fall.
“I got home from the governor’s State of the State address (on Wednesday), and fell in my own driveway,” he said.
He suffered from cuts on his forehead and sprained wrist.
“My son was pulling in the driveway, and he was able to scoop me up — and my wife’s a registered nurse, so she took good care of me. I’m fine. I’m very fortunate.”
Douglas said that he hopes neighbors will take care of each other during challenging winter conditions.
“We ask people, if you’re healthy enough, and your neighbor is elderly or disabled, go get some sand and spread it on their driveway.”
While word circulated that Essex County Clerk Joe Provoncha broke his ankle, it wasn’t ice-related. Provoncha fell on his driveway Jan. 4 when his knees gave out.
He said his driveway was fairly clear of ice that Sunday.
KEEP YOUR FOOTING ON ICE
The weekend's rain may rid the region of much ice, but a cold freeze could create dangerous conditions again. And winter is far from over. So CVPH Medical Center occupational therapist Troy Canada offers these safety tips for icy conditions:
▶ Think about the best route to your destination and plan on a little extra time to get there.
▶ Take your time, avoid rushing or taking shortcuts over areas where snow or ice removal is incomplete.
▶ Select appropriate footwear -- flat footwear with rubber soles provides better traction on ice and snow than leather-soled or high-heeled shoes.
▶ Use handrails where you can.
▶ Take small steps to keep your center of balance under you.
▶ Avoid carrying lots of heavy shopping bags, especially on steps.
▶ Walk slowly and never run on icy ground.
▶ Keep both hands free for balance, rather than in your pockets.
▶ Always be aware of your surroundings.
▶ Many slips and falls occur during entry or exit from vehicles -- be particularly careful and hold on to the vehicle for support.
▶ Keep paths clear of debris, water, ice and snow.
▶ When entering a building, be sure to use floor mats to remove moisture from the soles of your shoes -- this will help protect you, as well as others who follow, from having to walk on wet or slippery surfaces.