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Don’t be a Snow Miser: Deptford Police on lending a helping hand in winter weather

You don’t have to tell anyone in the news industry about the number of eyeballs on the internet and how it helps grow readership. But local government organizations have been hip to the trends of social media, too.

Including the Deptford Township Police Department.

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With the winter weather hitting its peak season, Deptford Township Police Officer Eric Kirby, who works in the Community Policing Unit, took to Facebook and shared a humorous picture to go along with an important post about staying safe during extreme cold, ice, and snow. Kirby used a picture of the Snow Miser from the classic stop-motion animated classic, “The Year Without Santa Claus.”

“If you look at some of the posts I’ve done in the past, it’s a similar kind of thing where you get something to grab people’s attention, it might be a funny picture, something like that,” Kirby said. “We want to make sure people are safe, of course that’s what we’re all about. For some reason (Snow) Miser came to my head.”

It worked, since it certainly got our attention. But of course the bigger point was the content within the post.

Serving and protecting is the crux of policing and the bullet points within the Deptford Township Police Department post on Facebook are important reminders this time of year.

“Safety with ice is a big thing, you have a lot of people falling, especially the elderly,” Kirby said. “Also brushing the snow and ice off cars, shoveling their walk. That’s a big thing. One of the reasons there are so many heart attacks in the winter time is people are overexerting themselves shoveling snow. So try to help out your neighbors. And it doesn’t have to be done right away, do it in small spurts to make it easier. Get some help to clear of the snow on your driveway and walkway if you’re not physically capable, don’t push it too much.”

It may come off sounding like common sense, but sometimes we all need to be reminded of such things. Helping your fellow neighbor is important this time of year, particularly if they are elderly or disabled.

“Especially if schools are closed because of the weather, remind your kids, ‘You know, Mr. Jones next door is a little bit older, why don’t you go help him out, take care of his walk for him,’” Kirby said. “So it’s a good way to teach your kids not only to be a responsible member of the community. To have them help out somebody, remind them to look out for other people. It’s a good thing to help out other people and you’ll feel good once you’re done. It’s a win-win all around. The person you’re helping out really appreciates it.”

Courtesy of the Deptford Police Department’s Facebook page, here are the other points to keep in mind during harsh winter weather:

  1. Prepare by listening to updated weather forecasts.
  2. Put ice melt down on driveways and walkways before the snow starts.
  3. Avoid parking on streets so snow plows can more easily clear the road.
  4. Avoid driving in the snow if possible.
  5. Check on elderly neighbors and help to clear their walkways if possible.
  6. Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of death during the winter.
  7. You can place a piece of cardboard on your windshield to help avoid ice buildup.

For more information, visit Deptford Emergency Management (http://www.deptford-nj.org/content/15950/16143/default.aspx), The American Red Cross’s Winter Weather Preparedness site (https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm.html#About), and and state Office of Emergency Management’s site for preparing for winter weather emergencies (http://ready.nj.gov/plan-prepare/winter.shtml?fbclid=IwAR0EpjP-KSpUIbLP2e3-Q6zdemmhcauvznxXTdMDhfpd-WTC6g1OxtX1X_g).

Ryan is a veteran journalist of 20 years. He’s worked at the Courier-Post, Philadelphia Daily News, Delaware County Daily Times, primarily as a sportswriter, and is currently a sports editor at Newspaper Media Group and an adjunct journalism instructor at Rowan University.

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