Cold Weather Safety

Texas weather can be unpredictable.  One day could be 90°F and sunny and the next day will be 30°and icy.  As the temperature drop, there are some cold weather safety tips you should consider before heading outdoors.

  • Pay attention to the weather forecast. Be prepared for any weather-related emergencies.  Check the SMU website, Twitter, and Facebook for notifications regarding inclement weather update.
  • Avoid walking on ice or sleet. If you notice any slick or icy spots on campus, contact SMU Facilities at 214-768-7000.
  • Do not pour HOT water on your windshield to remove ice or snow. Hot water may cause your windshield to crack and/or shatter.
  • Dress in layers of loss-fitting, lightweight, and warm clothing. Three layers of clothing are recommend.
    • Inner layer: Fabrics such as wool, silk or polypropylene are better at maintaining body heat than cotton.
    • Insulation layer: This layer will help with maintaining body heat.  Wool or fleece materials work best as insulation.
    • Outer layer: Water and wind resistant clothing are prefer to protect you from wind, rain, and snow.
  • Wear a hat, scarf, and mittens. Mittens are warmer than gloves.
  • Stay dry by wearing water-resistant coat and boots. Wet clothing can drop your body temperature quickly.
  • Avoid long-term exposure to the cold temperature. Watch for signs and symptoms of hypothermia.
  • If you must work outdoor, dress warmly and work slowly. Be sure to remove extra layers of clothing when you are sweating.  Sweating can lower the body temperature.

What is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia occurs when the body is exposed to cold temperature for long periods of time.  The body’s inability to produce body heat to compensate for this long-term exposure can cause dangerously low body temperature to the sufferer.  Hypothermia typically effects the elderly, children or individuals who have prolonged exposure to the cold environment.

Signs and symptoms of hypothermia:

  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of motor function
  • Shivering
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Cardiac arrest

What to do in cases of hypothermia emergency:

  • Get medical attention immediately. Contact SMU PD at 214-768-3333 or call 911.
  • Slowly and carefully get the individual inside a warm environment.
  • Gently remove wet clothing.
  • Warm the person gradually and slowly. Rapid warming may cause hypovolemic shock from a sudden drop in blood pressure.

If you have any other questions and/or concerns, please contact us at RiskManagement@smu.edu or 214-768-2083.

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/duringstorm/outdoorsafety.html

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.html

https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/sfttps/tp201101-eng.aspx

https://www.weather.gov/media/aly/PSAs/ExtremeCold.pdf

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Welcome Jonathan Dowd!

The Office of Risk Management is excited to welcome our newest member, Jonathan Dowd, who is the University’s new Risk Analyst Manager.  His first day was on Friday, November 30th and he is excited about his new role at SMU.  Jonathan has previously worked at the University of North Texas in the Risk Management Department.

Please stop by the Office of Risk Management to help us welcome Jonathan to SMU!

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Winter Safety

Do you plan on putting up holiday decorations this year?  Traveling for the holidays?

In order to keep everyone on campus safe, the Office of Risk Management suggests the following best practices for the Holiday Season:

  • Only use a safe ladder on a flat surface when hanging decorations. Don’t use chairs and tables in place of a ladder.
  • Keep cords and other items out of walking paths.
  • Keep floors clean and dry. Clean up spills quickly.
  • Always keep three points of contact when going up and down stairs. Don’t try to carry too many things.
  • Never hang decorations from lights, sprinklers, or smoke alarms.

Wintertime also means cold weather! We also ask to take extra care, in the event of bad weather.

  • Try to minimize trips that expose you to the elements.
  • Pay extra attention to the health yourself and others. Know the signs and symptoms of cold stress.
  • Drink warm liquids through the day.
  • Wear extra layers of clothing or keep them available.
  • Keep a blanket in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us riskmanagement@smu.edu or 214-768-2083.

 

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Welcome Max Richardson!

The Office of Risk Management is excited to welcome our newest member, Max Richardson, our Safety and Risk Specialist.  He will be responsible for our fire safety programs, including fire safety inspections, fire drills, and much more.  You might have seen Max around before as his previous role as the Emergency Management Specialist at the Office of Risk Management.  He’s a great addition to the team.

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SCUV (Golf Cart) Training

Do you drive a golf cart and/or club cars on campus?  If you do, have you taken the Sub-Compact Utility Vehicle Safety (SCUV) training within the last three years?  If not, you are require to take the SCUV training as soon as possible.  The training must be completed every 3 years and is available both online and in-person.  The in-person training is offered on a monthly basis.  You can access the training schedule and sign up for the training here.

If you have any questions and/or would like to check on your training status, please feel free to contact us riskmanagement@smu.edu or 214-768-2083.

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Flood Safety

According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, September 2018 is the wettest September on record.  At this time, October 2018 is the second wettest October on record and the rain is still coming.  Due to the record amount of rain, it is important that we keep a couple of things in mind for flood safety.  Stay inform about current weather and road conditions via radio and television.  Currently, Dallas is under a flood warning.  What does that mean?  What is the difference between flood watch vs flood warning?  Flood watch means that flooding maybe possible while flood warning means that flood may have occurred in some areas.  Stay away from flooded area do not walk or swim in flood waters because you never know what could be lurking under the water.  Do not drive into water of unknown depths or around barricades.  All it takes is 6 inches of moving water to knock you down and one foot of moving water to sweep your car away.  Make sure you move to higher ground and stay away from storm drains, ditches, and stream.  If you do become trapped in flooded areas, get out quickly, move to higher ground and contact emergency services immediately.  If you notice any leaks or standing water in a building on campus, please notify SMU Facilities at 8-7000 as soon as possible.

Resources:

https://www.weather.gov

https://www.redcross.org

https://www.ready.gov

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West Nile Virus Safety

Even though we are close to the end of summer, it does not mean we are completely safe from the West Nile Virus.  West Nile Virus most commonly occurs in warmer climates (i.e. Texas) where the mosquitoes are more active.  In 2018, there are 8 human cases of West Nile Virus reported in Dallas County.  The main source of West Nile Virus transmission is through infected mosquito bites.  Casual contact with an infected person will not lead to infection such as coughing, sneezing, and/or touching.  Signs and symptoms may include fever, headache, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and skin rash.  They typically do not appear until 2 to 14 days after the mosquito bites.  However, some individuals may not display any symptoms at all.  You can help prevent the spread of the virus by removing any standing water, changing pet bowls regularly, applying mosquito repellent when you’re outside, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.  Currently, there are no specific vaccine and treatments available for this disease.  However, over-the-counter medications may be use to relieve some of the symptoms such as fever and body aches.  For few individuals, hospitalization may be require for supportive care.  If you developed serious symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, paralysis, seek medical care immediately.  Please refer to the resources below for any additional questions.

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/west-nile-virus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350320

https://www.dallascounty.org/department/hhs/WestNileWatch.html

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Safety Training now included in your SMU Training Record

Welcome back!  As we begin this upcoming academic year, we have some exciting news for you!  Employees can now access your full training record on SMU Learning and Development (my.smu.edu).  Safety training taken though Office of Risk Management will now be included in your record.  The training record will automatically update as you complete additional training.  This allow staff and employees to check for any missing required training in Bloodborne Pathogens, SCUV, and machine Shop.  As a reminder, some safety training are require annually (i.e. Bloodborne Pathogen) and some are require every three years (i.e. SCUV).  If you have any questions about safety training, please feel free to contact us at riskmanagement@smu.edu or call us at 214-768-2083.

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Welcome Warren Ricks!

The Office of Risk Management is excited to welcome our newest member, Warren Ricks, who is the University’s new Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer.  Warren’s first day was on Monday, July 16th and he is quickly settling in and learning about SMU.  Some might know Warren from his previous role as the Assistant Vice President and Chief Risk Management Officer at Baylor University.

Please stop by the Office of Risk Management to help us welcome Warren to SMU!

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Engaged Driving Training

Are you still an authorized driver for SMU?  You must have taken Engaged Driving training within the last three years to be an authorized driver.  We are starting to see some training expire, so don’t forget to check yours!

Not sure when you last took Engaged Driving training?  Contact riskmanagement@smu.edu to check.

The Office of Risk Management offers Engaged Driving both in person and online.  Simply sign up at this website for the training you prefer.

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