December 21st marks the first day of winter. However, snow has been falling since November and with that snow fall comes slippery pathways on sidewalks, steps and driveways. Keep your family safe and your sidewalks and driveway clear of ice and snow with these great tips:
Have a Plan in Place Before the Snow Starts:
Having the proper equipment is very important. So, be sure to have a reliable shovel on hand along with salt, sand or other types of ice melt. An ice chipper can also be very helpful. If you run out of salt, and have a water softener. You can use the salt from that. Just be sure not leave it on sidewalks or driveways long after the ice melts or it can eat away at concrete surfaces. Also, you can warm sand in the microwave, so when you cover walks and driveways it will penetrate ice, and its gritty covering will provide needed traction.
Timely removal of snow is important:
Make sure to shovel sidewalks and driveways often during a snowstorm, because compressed snow turns to ice and is much more difficult to remove. Also, the job is much easier if you don’t give the snow a chance to accumulate. In case snow does become compacted, a sharp metal snow shovel is the best for removing it.
Snow can become very heavy as it accumulates, so push snow to the side as you shovel instead of trying to lift it out of the way. This is much easier on the back and shoulders. If you do have to lift, do so with your legs bent not your back, and keep your spine straight. If snow has a problem sticking your shovel blade, try spraying it with cooking oil.
Ice melts during the day when temperatures warm up and the sun is out. It is easier to remove during this time, so try to take advantage of clearing during the daylight hours. To make sidewalks safer, spread sand or gravel on icy patches or even before ice forms. This can allow for easier removal of future ice. Make sure downspouts are turned away from where people walk, so when ice melts and re-freezes it will not become a hazard for pedestrians.
Listen to your Body:
Dress in several layers of warm clothing and insulated boots that have reliable grip and support. Make sure to stretch muscles before shoveling or chipping at ice, and if you have any health conditions check with your doctor to make sure the physical activity of clearing snow and ice is okay. Be sure to take frequent breaks too, at least every 10 to 15 minutes.
Be sure to seek medical help if you experience any of these symptoms:
Discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arm or neck.
Unusual or prolonged shortness of breath.
A prolonged dizzy or faint feeling.
Excessive sweating or nausea or vomiting.
Excessive back pain.
We here at Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency hope you find these snow and ice removal tips helpful and as always, we are just a phone call away for any insurance questions you may have.