January 22, 2012

Snow-shovelling death in Hamilton

Hamilton’s top paramedic is calling on citizens to be careful shovelling snow this winter following a snow shovelling related death Saturday.

“Regrettably, a person in our community died today shovelling snow,” wrote Paramedic Chief Brent Browett in a news release emailed to local media early Saturday afternoon. “We strongly urge everyone to review our tips on snow shovelling and call upon your community neighbours to assist you if required.”

No further details were provided by Hamilton EMS.

Browett included the following list of tips for safer winter shovelling in the media release:

  • Talk to your doctor about your health status before taking on this strenuous activity. Think twice if you have had a heart attack or have other forms of heart disease, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, are a smoker or lead a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Dress warmly
  • If someone else is at home let them know you are going outside to shovel
  • Watch for signs of frostbite
  • Consider hiring someone to shovel for you or contact a volunteer program like Hamilton’s Snow Angels
  • Use proper techniques when shovelling – use your legs by bending at your knees and keep your back as straight as possible, and step towards the area you are throwing the snow to avoid twisting at the lower back
  • Take smaller loads of snow with each shovel
  • Take breaks – approximately every 15 minutes
  • If you can – push the snow instead of lifting it
  • Watch for signs of heart attack – chest pain or discomfort (squeezing, pressure, fullness, burning, heaviness), pain in other areas of body (arms, neck, jaw, shoulder, back), prolonged shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, feeling faint/dizzy, excessive sweating, and/or nausea and vomiting – if you experience any of these symptoms stop shovelling and call 911 immediately