Snow is here!

Snow is on the way.  Snow can be a big hazard on the roads but it is also a hazard at home.  One area of danger that many people over look is snow shoveling.  Before you head out make sure that you layer up to stay warm and remove clothing as you go to stay comfortable and not overheat.  Warming up is one thing that most people over look.  Going out into the cold can put the muscle in an environment for a pull or tear.  A few minutes of walking in place or bending side to side can help prepare for snow removal.  Another aspect of snow shoveling that many people over look is your shovel.  There are many ergonomically designed shovels available today.  Choosing one of these shovels can reduce the stress you place on your body.   A plastic shovel instead of a metal shovel can also reduce some of the weight and make shoveling easier.  Once you start the shoveling process remember to push the snow instead of trying to lifting it.  If you have to lift it, bend your knees and use your legs as much as possible.  Also avoid twisting as much as possible.  When the snow falls it can be beneficial to shovel as the snow falls so that the weight doesn’t pile up on you.  Take frequent breaks and walk around so that you can extend your back and keep it from cramping up.  Shoveling can also make you sweat, so remember to stay hydrated.  Be safe and take your time, our snow season can be a long one.

So far so good this Winter

We have been lucky so far this winter and had a small amount of snow.  At some point snow will be here. How can you prepare for the snow so that you are safe around your house and in your car?  One way to prepare your car is to have an emergency kit in your car.  Emergency kits are easy to prepare and can make a big difference.  Some simple items to include are a flashlight, phone car charger, pen and notepad, jumper cables, hats, gloves, and a blanket.  If you want a little bigger and safer kit, including items such as tools, a foldable shovel, first aid kit, fix a flat,portable air compressor, and safety absorbent would be your next step.  If you do not have safety absorbent, kitty litter can also help you get traction on ice.  Your walks and driveways are another area of possible danger during winter months.  One way to remove snow and ice is manually with a shovel.  Just make sure you use proper shoveling technique and safety procedures.  Salt can be used and is a popular method of de-icing.  The issue with salting is that it can cause damage to car, fabrics, carpet, plants, grass, and even pets paws.  You can look for de-icers that are safe for pets and easier on your driveway.  Organic salt free de-icers are available but more expensive than regular salt.  Urea is an alternative safe for pets but dangerous for grass and plants.  Alfalfa meal could be the answer to your de-icing needs.  It is natural, can de-ice, and is grainy so it can help with traction.  Another possibility is sugar beet juice.  Sugar Beet Juice is used by some municipalities.  Sugar beet juice also has a freezing point of negative 20 degrees Celsius.  Finally in a pinch coffee grinds can be effective.  We will continue to look at ways to make winter a little easier on your through the upcoming weeks.