Winter Water Safety: Safely Shoveling Snow

Winter Water Safety: Safely Shoveling Snow
Since water comes in many forms, so does water safety. This includes snow! Since we’re now in February, there have already been some pretty nasty storms across the country. Let’s talk about some methods of safely shoveling snow.

Dress in Layers to Keep Warm and Dry

In the past, we’ve talked about the importance of including multiple layers of safety for your pool area. You don’t want to trust your safety to a single solution. When standing out in the cold, the same idea applies to your clothing. Dressing in layers can help to prevent frostbite and other ill effects of cold weather.

Cold Weather and Snow Safety Tips

Safely shoveling snow means that you’ll need to be both comfortable and warm. Wear two pairs of socks and don’t forget your hat, gloves and scarf. You’ll want as much protection from the elements as possible. For kids, be sure to invest in snow pants.

Also, be sure to wear waterproof boots and gloves. Cloth that isn’t waterproof can get awfully wet when exposed to the elements. You don’t want that cold water sitting on your skin for an extended period of time. Instead, be sure to protect your hands and feet with properly sealed waterproof gear. 

Watch Your Back While Safely Shoveling Snow

When it comes to safely shoveling snow, it pays to think about your back. One of the biggest issues that frequently arises during the winter storms is back pain. Basically, it may be fun to throw snowballs, but snow can be deceptively heavy. That’s especially true if you’re outside in the cold, shoveling massive heaping piles of the stuff.

When it comes to shoveling, try to “push the snow” instead of the common practice of lifting and throwing it. This will cause far less strain on your back. In situations when you simply have to lift the snow, try to lift with your legs and keep your back straight. Additionally, don’t go for the big scoops. Take smaller scoops to limit the amount of weight you are lifting. Your back will thank you!

For a closer look at how to safely shovel snow, this news story properly demonstrates the recommended techniques:

Take a Break

Above all, be sure to take frequent breaks. After all, shoveling can be exhausting work. Swimming can be great exercise, but shoveling snow is a deceptively intense task as well. It’s a good idea to step inside every now and then to keep warm. Even though it’s cold outside, don’t forget that you’re likely sweating quite a bit. Remember to stay hydrated with regular drinks of water.

Furthermore, stop immediately if you feel woozy or sick. Just in case, it is important that you learn to recognize the signs of a potential heart attack. Again, this work requires a lot of exertion, so it pays to be safe.

Taking breaks can also help you avoid frostbite. No matter how many layers you’re wearing, prolonged exposure to cold weather can wear down your defenses.

When it comes to frostbite, you should know what to look for. Body parts affected by frostbite may hurt or feel stiffer than usual when touched. The affected skin may appear pale and shiny. If you are having trouble feeling your face, ears or extremities, this can be a warning sign. In this situation, seek immediate medical attention.

Beyond that, it’s better to take breaks rather than risk serious injury. In short, take breaks to avoid trouble.