SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Snow plows aren’t the only ones who will be clearing snow after Utah’s big February snowstorm. As the snow stops falling, many Utah residents will grab their shovels and start clearing their driveways in sidewalks.
In the state of Utah, it’s left to cities to determine if residents are responsible for clearing their public walkways, and many due make it the responsibility of the resident. For example, in Salt Lake City, residents are required to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of a snowstorm, according to city code.
Clearing sidewalk and driveway snow can be dangerous.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), shoveling snow puts extra stress on the heart, especially among those who aren’t used to regular exercise. In addition to the extra stress, cold temperatures can constrict arteries while increasing blood pressure. The mix of factors increases the risk of a heart attack, even among those using automatic snow blowers, says AHA.
There are things you can do to help ease the stress though.
The National Safety Council has a few tips for shovelers that will help take the strain off the heart and stay safe while clearing snow from sidewalks and driveways.
- Do not shovel after eating or while smoking.
- Take it slow and stretch before you start.
- Shovel only the lighter, fresh, powdery snow.
- Push the snow rather than lift it.
- If you do lift, use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel.
- If you do lift, lift with your legs and not your back.
- Do not work to the point of exhaustion.
Most importantly, the National Safety Council says you should know the signs of a heart attack such as shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, a cold sweat, or discomforts in the upper body such as arms, back, neck, jaw, stomach and the center of the chest.
If you experience any of these symptoms, the National Safety Council says to stop shoveling snow immediately and call 911 as every minute counts.