Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/25/2020 --As most of Utah moves from orange to yellow in the state's COVID-19 classification system and as recreation areas open, Intermountain Healthcare trauma clinicians are reminding Utahns to take six steps to have a safe Memorial Day weekend.
1. ALWAYS WEAR A SEATBELT
Historically, the period between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day are referred to as the 100 deadliest days. That's because fatal car crashes nearly double during this time.
The Utah Department of Transportation reports the most common contributing factor to roadway fatalities is a failure to buckle up. In 2017, there were 87 unrestrained fatalities on Utah roads.
"Wearing a seatbelt will keep you from becoming a statistic," said Adam Balls, MD, chair of the emergency department at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. "If you're driving a vehicle, please make sure you are wearing your seatbelt. Before beginning to drive, please make sure every occupant and passenger in your vehicle has their seatbelt securely fastened."
2. BE PREPARED
People who enjoy the backcountry need to be especially prepared for whatever conditions they may encounter.
"Too many people don't bring enough water or don't know what the weather will be like until they find themselves in a sudden downpour," said Dr. Balls. "Know what the weather is going to be like, including the temperature so you can bring the appropriate clothing. Also, make sure you know your itinerary and have given that information to family members."
Rivers are also running high and cold this time of year. Trauma experts warn tragedies can happen in the blink of an eye. Drowning is the second leading cause of death among Utah children under the age of 14.
"Adult supervision is the best safety measure around all types of water," said Dr. David Hasleton, Intermountain Healthcare's senior medical director of emergency medicine and trauma operations.
3. WEAR THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Each year, more than 1,200 people die, and thousands are injured in bicycle, roller blade, scooter or skateboard accidents. Intermountain hospitals and clinics are also beginning to see more ATV accidents this year as people get out and enjoy the outdoors.
"The key is the right protective equipment. And helmets save lives," said Dr. Hasleton. "People who fall while wearing a helmet are far more likely to survive if they are prepared with the right equipment. So put that helmet on! It could save your life."
4. TAKE PRECAUTIONS AT HOME
If you are opting to stay at home this Memorial Day and decide to take-on a new do-it-yourself project, take the necessary precautions.
With COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, people are staying home and taking on more DIY projects and Intermountain facilities are seeing more machine type injuries.
"We want you to take appropriate precautions at home using eye protection," said Dr. Balls. "Make sure you're very safe while using any machinery or saws to reduce the chance of injury to yourself."
5. MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING AND WEAR A MASK
During Utah's yellow COVID-19 status, the public is asked to continue taking reasonable precautions by maintaining social distancing and when in a public setting wearing a face mask.
If you are a high-risk individual avoid high-risk areas, maintain six-foot distance from others, wear a face covering, and limit physical interactions with other high-risk individuals not living in your household.
6. IF YOU ARE INJURED – CARE IS AVAILABLE FOR YOU
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical emergencies and urgent situations unrelated to the virus are still happening.
"Intermountain Healthcare is committed to making sure you have the safest experience possible," said Dr. Hasleton. "If you have a medical emergency, whether it is related or unrelated to COVID-19, you should first call 911, go to the emergency department and not delay treatment."
Intermountain Connect Care is a way to be seen 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere. To start a virtual visit, simply go to Connect Care on your phone or mobile device, or search Connect Care in your app store.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see Intermountain Healthcare or the Intermountain Healthcare Blog.