IT’S TIME TO SHOVEL! 10 tips to help you dig out safely

It's time to break out the shovels! But do you know how to do it safely? Click here for some tips.

News 12 Staff

Feb 13, 2024, 9:30 AM

Updated 161 days ago


It's time to break out the shovels! But do you know how to do it safely?
The tips below can help you stay safe while shoveling snow:

1. Stretch before you go out

If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This may prevent injury.

2. Cover your mouth

Protect your lungs from extremely cold air by covering your mouth when outdoors.

3. Avoid overexertion

Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unfamiliar exercise, such as shoveling snow or pushing a car, can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Take frequent rest breaks, and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Here are some more tips for your heart!

4. Keep dry

Change wet clothes frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.

5. Stay safe

Walk carefully on snowy or icy sidewalks. If using a snowblower, never use your hands to unclog the machine.

6. Maintain an awareness of utilities

Do not cover fire hydrants (more on this below - tip 9) with snow when clearing sidewalks and driveways. Do not shovel snow into manholes and catch basins.

7. Offer help

Offer to help individuals who require special assistance, including seniors and people with disabilities.

8. Clearing snow and dangling ice from roofs

Snow and rain that collects on roofs becomes heavy and may damage buildings. Remove leaves and debris from roof drains to prevent water from collecting.
In addition to cleaning out gutters, clear snow from roofs and drains. Flat roofs require special attention. Snow and water should be removed with drainage systems or manually.

9. Watch out for lifesaving equipment

The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) asks residents to take the time to make sure fire hydrants near homes are accessible and visible to fire departments.
Shovel snow away from the fire hydrant, leaving at least 3 feet clear on each side.
They also ask that you clear all ventilation pipes around the house. This storm may have blocked, or iced over ventilation pipes and shafts for home heating units, washing machines, and other appliances. Poor ventilation can lead to dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide. Here are more tips on carbon monoxide.
They also say you should check that your vehicles' exhaust pipes are clear of snow before starting them.
If you lost power and are using a generator, make sure it is properly ventilated. Here are some more tips on generator usage.

10. Walk carefully

Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injuries. 

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