Previous Page »5 Ways to Weather Stormzilla 2011 - (Page 2 of 2)

News flash: It's snowing. Again. Winter 2011 is gonna be a record breaker, and all those snow days are piling up to be a major hazard. We've got five vital tips for surviving this blustery barrage.

  1. Tip #4: Shovel With Care

    Heart attacks from overexertion and shoveling snow are one of the leading causes of death during the winter, along with vehicle accidents. Shoveling is basically the same as lifting weights, only snow can be much heavier than a barbell -- and there are no machines to spot your form. If you don't have a snow blower, or can't hire someone to shovel for you, protect yourself with these simple guidelines.

    • Use a smaller shovel to avoid overloading, and keep it close to your body to protect your back.
    • Don't toss snow a long distance. Small shovelfuls are just as fast as fewer heaping ones, only safer.
    • Like lifting anything heavy, bend at and lift with your knees, not your back.

    Quitting Time: If you feel shortness of breath, heavy sweating or any kind of abnormal pain, it's time to pay the neighborhood kids to take over. To prevent overexertion, take frequent breaks, drink fluids and wear dry, waterproof clothing -- you are less prone to injury when muscles are warm. Never wear wet clothing, gloves or hats.

  2. Tip #5: Outsmart Your Car

    Slipping and Sliding: If you start to slide, turn in the direction of the slide. If you get stuck, don't try to get out unless it's a very low bank. Turn off your engine. If the exhaust pipe is blocked, carbon monoxide could seep into your car and cause suffocation.

    Stuck? Spin Sparingly: In New Hampshire, a car burst into flames after the driver spun the wheels too long trying to get unstuck. While that may be a fluke, Rochester Fire Marshal Mark Dupuis advises against spinning in general, unless it's a very small bank.

    If it is just a small bank, use a shovel to clear snow from all four wheels and the tailpipe. Sprinkle sand (or kitty litter) around all the wheels. Start the car, put it in reverse, and back up a little. Put it in drive and creep forward. Rock the car back and forth gently, without gunning the engine, and you might be able to roll out of it. If not, call 911 or your roadside assistance provider. Whatever you do, don't go in search of help -- you could get lost or suffer exposure. Stay in the car, stay warm, and call for help.

    Before You Drive: Fill your gas tank and windshield wiper fluid, and clear off all ice and snow. The National Weather Service recommends stocking your trunk with the following items:

    • Blankets/sleeping bags
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • First-aid kit
    • Knife
    • High-calorie, non-perishable food
    • Extra clothing
    • Large empty can, plastic cover, tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes
    • Shovel
    • Windshield scraper and brush
    • Tool kit
    • Tow rope
    • Booster cables
    • Water container
    • Compass and road maps
    • Small can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water
    • Sack of sand (or cat litter)