While the physically fit may consider shoveling snow as just another workout, it can be problematic for others. Many people associate back problems and sore muscles with shoveling the driveway and sidewalk, but there are other risks as well. For example, heart attack rates are elevated during the winter months and these heart attacks are often the result of shoveling snow. When it snows this winter, follow these safety tips to maintain your health and avoid injury.
- Avoid shoveling right after waking up in the morning. Slipped disc injuries are more likely to occur in the morning due to the build-up of fluid disc from lying down all night.
- Be sure to stay hydrated while you work and continue drinking water after you’re done shoveling snow for the day.
- Spend 5-10 minutes stretching before you head outdoors to shovel snow. This will help prevent sore muscles later.
- Wear gloves, hat, etc. to cover your extremities. Also, wear layers of clothing and shed the layers when necessary to prevent overheating.
- Wear sturdy boots with a rubber sole to prevent slipping and falling.
- Take frequent breaks while you work. If you become fatigued, put down the shovel and go inside to rest.
- When possible, avoid lifting a snow-filled shovel. Instead, it is safer to push the snow off your driveway and sidewalks. If you must lift the snow, be sure to face the direction you are lifting and twist as little as possible.
- Spray or rub your shovel with lubricant such as cooking spray or WD40 to help prevent snow from sticking to the shovel. The lighter the load, the better for your body.
- Check with your doctor if you believe shoveling snow might present a health hazard, especially if you have a heart condition.
With warmer weather on the way, many of us will be spending more time in our yards, buts sometimes we get so busy that it is hard to keep up on everything around the house especially around the yard. Don’t let an unexpected danger ruin your backyard fun this spring or summer. Take just a moment to review these tips for keeping your yard safe for everyone.
- Keep the grill 10 feet away from the house and other objects.
- Never leave an unattended fire in the fire pit or grill.
- Install a fence around pools and hot tubs.
- Make sure no one swims alone in pool.
- Wear protective goggles and ear protection when using outdoor machinery.
- Let the mower engine cool before refueling.
- Keep children inside when grass is being mowed.
- Put ladders away after use.
- Keep chemicals and garden tools away from children’s reach.
- Tighten and cover bolts on play equipment.
- Anchor trampolines and play sets.
- Seal wooden decks and porches.
As the weather begins to get colder, it’s time to get your car ready for winter. By preparing now, you can keep your vehicle running efficiently and safely and hopefully avoid a roadside breakdown in the cold. Here are some tips to get you started:
Fluids – Have all fluids checked and replaced if necessary. Don’t forget the oil, coolant, brake fluid, windshield fluid and gasoline. Yes, gasoline. Keep your tank full to prevent moisture from freezing in the lines. Also, when unexpected weather hits and you are delayed in traffic, you won’t have to worry about running on empty.
Wiper Blades – Weather ages blades quickly and they tear easily in freezing temperatures, so start out the season with new ones.
Battery – Cold weather reduces the cranking amperage of the battery. Have it tested, serviced and replaced if more than 4 years old.
Tires – Of course cold sloppy freezing weather brings traction problems so check those tire treads and replace tires if necessary. The cold can also reduce the pressure so check often for proper inflation and don’t forget the spare.
Floor Mats – Tracking snow and salt into your car’s interior can ruin carpeting so make sure you have some good all-weather mats in place.
Emergency Kit – Items you may want to include are flares, boots, gloves, shovel, blanket, ice scraper, flashlight, rock salt or kitty litter for traction. Also have emergency numbers and insurance information handy and maybe some spare change, just in case
The official start of fall is fast approaching and winter won’t be too far behind. Get your home and yard ready for fall and winter with this handy checklist:
- Hire a professional to inspect your furnace and make sure your heating system is working properly.
- Inspect you chimney for cracks and any debris that may have accumulated in the flue.
- Clean and covered or store patio furniture.
- Fertilize the lawn and winterize your lawn mower.
- Rake leaves.
- Clean gutters and clear them of debris before winter weather arrives.
- Hang holiday lights. It is easier to do and more enjoyable while the weather is still nice.
- Harvest the rest of the produce from your vegetable garden.
- Plant/move trees and shrubs.
- Mulch trees and shrubs to protect them from harsh winter weather.
- Drain and store hoses. Turn off outdoor faucets.
Buy winter supplies such as snow shovels, ice melt, and ice scrapers.
Hurricane season can last almost a half year (typically June – November), and with hurricane season quickly approaching, you don’t want to be caught off guard. If you live in a coastal area, now is a good time to review your emergency plan and prepare your home and family in case disaster strikes. Review these tips and hints to help you prepare:
- Create an Emergency Supply Kit – Create your own emergency supply kit. Consider storing these items in a waterproof container: First aid kit, flashlights, blankets, clothing, shoes, water, non-perishable food, radio, prescriptions, toiletries, insect repellant, extra keys, important documents like insurance policies, emergency phone numbers and some cash. Include a phone charger that plugs into the car’s power system for at least one of your cell phones. If you have children, include toys to keep them occupied and of course bring the usual diaper bag contents for infants. Don’t forget leashes and carriers for the pets.
- Prepare you Auto – Keep your car maintained and the tank full of gas. Know ahead of time the safest route to an emergency shelter and keep in mind alternate routes in case yours becomes blocked.
- Safety – Safety features in your house should include smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors. Consider learning first aid, including CPR. Know when and how to turn off your utilities. Review with your children how to call 911 and other emergency numbers.
- Have a Plan – Everyone may not be at home when the storm hits, so designate a meeting place and review it with all family members. Also, designate a friend or relative that lives away from the storm’s path, as an emergency contact. Write down all contact information for each family member to carry with them. Practice your plan so that everyone can remain calm and competent when the storm actually hits.
- Keep Informed – Register for emergency alerts for your cell phone, tablet or computer. Bad weather can take out phone lines and cell towers so be sure to keep a battery powered radio tuned to the appropriate channel/station. Know the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning. A watch means a hurricane could happen, while a warning means that it will happen. This is when all of your preparation and practice will go into effect.
With these helpful tips and a little planning your and your family will be better prepared should a hurricane make land fall in your area.