If you're a paramedic and live and work in an area that experiences cold weather, some of the winter-related injuries you might have to treat include:
- Broken bones or fractures from slipping on icy sidewalks or roads
- Frostbite from being outside too long in freezing weather
- Head or other injuries from ice skating or skiing
- Shock or trauma from weather-related automobile accidents
- Heart attacks or stroke brought upon by shoveling snow.
To deal with the multitude of injuries that are bound to appear in the cold weather months, it's best to draw upon your paramedic training. You need to know how to stabilize a patient quickly especially if you, as the emergency medical technician on the scene, might not be able to rush a patient to a medical facility if the roads you're driving on are dangerous.
There are many winter sports that can result in injuries, particularly if you have a few "weekend warriors," who are inexperienced with the sport in which they are participating. You might encounter people who ski or ice skate infrequently (and aren't in great shape), so the chances are measurably higher that they might get hurt. As a paramedic, you might be faced with someone who has fallen while ice skating or perhaps broken a bone in their hand or wrist while attempting to brace themselves for the fall.
As a paramedic, you may have to treat a skier that went down a slope that was too advanced for them, fell on the mountain, and might have a head injury (especially if they weren't wearing a helmet) in addition to broken bones.
The paramedic training necessary to handle both of these types of injuries is to assess the person's condition, stabilize the patient and transport them safely for further medical attention. In the role of paramedic, you may also have to put an IV into a patient as well as stop any external bleeding.
Other instances in which training is needed are bad driving conditions. During the winter months, automobile accidents notably increase for people who are not familiar with driving on ice or snow packed roads. Vehicles can spin out of control, causing injury not only to the occupants, but even other vehicles on the road. It's in these instances that paramedics often have to help get a person out of a vehicle, treat them for whatever injuries have occurred and then transport them safely for further treatment.
Cold Winter Weather
A paramedic might also have to provide assistance to a person who has suffered a heart attack or stroke from shoveling heavy snow. The person might be unconscious and/or not breathing, so a paramedic has to be sufficiently trained in CPR.
There's also the chance that you, as a paramedic, might encounter someone who has simply been out in the elements too long and may not realize the threat of frostbite. As an EMT or paramedic, it's your job to make sure that the person is slowly warmed and rehydrated.