Snow Removal Safety Tips

Shoveling Requirements

Safely Shovel

Do yourself a favor and cover your steps and walkway in deicer or rock salt before the storm starts. This will facilitate snow and ice removal once the storm has passed. On its pedestrian bridges, the District Snow Team applies pet-friendly deicer.
The National Safety Council suggests the following shoveling safety advice:
Never shovel while smoking or after eating.
before you start, stretch and go slowly.
Only move fresh, fluffy snow; it is lighter.
Push snow instead of lifting it
Use a tiny shovel or one that is just partially filled if you need to lift snow.
Use your legs, not your back, to lift.
Avoid working yourself into fatigue
If you notice any of the warning signs of a heart attack, stop right away and dial 911. Every second matters.
If you have a history of heart illness, wait until your doctor gives the all-clear before picking up that shovel. Your life is not worth a clean driveway.
Other safety advice for shoveling includes:
Take regular breaks and be aware of how your body is feeling.
Avoid eating a big meal right before or right after shoveling. Your heart may feel overburdened by this.
Learn the female and male heart attack warning symptoms, and pay attention to your body. Keep in mind: Tell a doctor about your symptoms even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack so they can check it out. Minutes count! Call 911.
Clear snow off walkways and steps to assist elderly or disabled neighbors.
Clean the fire hydrants and catch basins.
Please refrain from putting snow on the roads. Place all cleared snow from sidewalks, parked automobiles, and “tree boxes” in the front yard or in the space between the curb and the sidewalk.
The American Heart Association’s website lists the following symptoms of a heart attack:

It’s critical to understand that every heart attack is unique. However, the majority of heart attacks begin gradually, with just some chest pain or discomfort. Additionally, there might be pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. Other signs and symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, or cold sweats.

Tips for Pedestrians During Winter Storms

Wear appropriate clothing for the weather, such as a coat, hat, scarf, gloves, socks, and water-resistant boots or shoes.
Watch your step as you move. Observe traffic patterns and traffic signals. The phone should remain in your pocket.
Wear outerwear that stands out against the white snow when you go for a nighttime stroll.
Wear sunglasses when you are out walking throughout the day to shield your eyes from glare.
Allow plenty of time for yourself to arrive at your destination.
Advice on How to Avoid Cold-Related Illness
Staying indoors is the best defense against hypothermia and frostbite. If you must go outside, follow these recommendations to stay warm and prevent frostbite. Prevention of Cold-Related Illness [pdf]

Before a Storm, You Should Have These Supplies:

NOAA To get weather reports and emergency information, use a weather radio, battery-powered radio, or hand-crank radio.
batteries and a flashlight.
Additional food and drink. The best options are high-energy foods that don’t need to be cooked or refrigerated, like dried fruit or candies.
medicines) for elderly people, those with impairments in the family, newborns, young children, and animals.
First-aid supplies.
A space heater, wood burner, fireplace, or other emergency heating device.
at least three days’ worth of water supplies (one gallon per person per day). Store in sturdy, airtight containers.
a non-electric can opener and a three to five-day supply of non-perishable canned food.
Smoke detector and fire extinguisher in working order.
At least once a year, replace the batteries in all of your gadgets. To make it simple to remember, do it in the fall when you set your clocks back.
To remove snow and ice off walkways, use deicer, rock salt, or non-clumping kitty litter. Pet-friendly deicer is used by the DC Snow Team on its pedestrian bridges.
Make sure shovels and other tools for clearing snow are ready

Emergency equipment list for DC. Emergency supplies list for 72 hours [pdf]
Pipes in your home can freeze in the cold.
Drain any remaining water from the exterior spigot after turning off the water that runs through pipes to the outside of your home.
Keep cabinet doors open, let a trickle of cold water run from a faucet, and keep your thermostat set at 55° or higher to prevent pipes within your home from freezing.
Remove any insulation or newspaper layers from your pipes, then cover them in rags to prevent freezing. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate) (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).

Snow and Roofs

– The weight of the snow, especially on flat or low-pitched roofs, might cause your roof to collapse. (A roof with two angled parts is known as a pitched roof. When a roof has a low pitch, the dangling is not extremely steep.) Before clearing snow off your roof, wait until the storm is over, especially if blizzard conditions with severe winds and snow are present. Here are a few advices:
A sagging roof, severe leaks, split or broken woof, bends or ripples in the supports, cracks in the masonry, doors that spring open, and creaking, snapping, or popping noises are all indications of impending collapse.
Snow removal can be risky, so if at all possible, think about hiring a professional.
Have a spotter by your side, please! If something goes wrong, avoid attempting to climb up onto or clean your roof by yourself.
To clear snow from your roof, use a snow rake (often found at hardware stores) or a broom for pitched roofs. Avoid using metal instruments that could harm your roof by conducting electricity from power wires.
To avoid harming the top of your roof or shingles, concentrate on clearing the snow from the roof until there are only two or three inches left.
Use safety headgear or eyewear when clearing the snow, and exercise caution when clearing icicles.
Keep in mind to check your gutters and drains! Make sure your downspouts are clear and keep them free of snow and ice.
To melt snow or ice, avoid using open flames or electric heaters (such as hair dryers and heat guns).
Keep in mind that ice might accumulate on ladder rungs and on your shoes, making them slippery.
The FEMA Snow Load Safety Guide contains more details.

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