Protect Yourself When Clearing Snow This Winter

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With winter just a few days away, we’re well into that time of the year when snowfall can blanket the ground in cold weather landscapes.  As such, persons are going to be heading outdoors to shovel or take a snowblower to their driveways.  If you live in such an area and you know that such a chore will be on your agenda in the coming months, then you absolutely must go about conducting these tasks in the safest manner possible.  A new report offers some crucial tips from Madison, Connecticut Emergency Medical Services that you may want to put into practice.

Much of the precautions hinge largely on knowing your own limits.  Many people mistakenly push themselves too hard when they head out into the elements, vastly underestimating the extreme physical exertion required to move the snow.  Instead, be properly hydrated and warmed up prior to heading out, and if you have a history of heart or back issues, you should speak with a medical professional to determine whether or not clearing snow would even be appropriate.

Just as you would never put all the pressure on your back when lifting heavy loads at a job, so too should you never place all the weight of the snow on your back.  You want your knees to take the brunt of the lifting action.  You can minimize stress by avoiding leaning excessively and having a shovel of sufficient size to allow you to not extend the pile of snow far from your body, as this will necessarily drag you down.

Never lift more than you’re capable of safely raising into the air, and rather than heaving the pile of snow over your body, either push it forward or move your feet if you’re required to lift.  It’s better to take a couple steps than to painfully twist your torso.

Snowblowers can also be dangerous, albeit for very different reasons.  You should follow usage instructions from the owner’s manual, and these instructions will likely include avoiding start-up in an enclosed space.  If the snowblower runs and gas accumulates, you could be in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Keep the unit out in the open.

If you have to remove snow or otherwise deal with the blades, then you absolutely must make sure that the snowblower has been turned off.  At no point should you use your hands to unclog the blades; there should be a tool handy that you can extend inside so that, if the blades do move suddenly, it won’t be your hand caught within.

Finally, avoid the type of clothing that could easily be pulled into the blades.  Scarves are a bad idea in this regard.