January 2016

Stay safe while shoveling

Now that cold temperatures are here, snow is probably not far behind. While it looks nice while falling, removing it from sidewalks, porches and driveways is hard work.
Many people will grab their shovels and head out to clear the snow without giving it much thought. However, even if you are fairly healthy, cold temperatures can increase heart rate and blood pressure, while constricting arteries and decreasing blood flow. This can lead to serious cardiovascular issues. According to the National Safety Council, snow shoveling is responsible for thousands of injuries and as many as 100 deaths in the U.S. each year.
Shoveling is a strenuous activity, and requires preparation just like any other exercise. It’s important to dress in layers, warm up and stretch muscles, and wait a while after eating or smoking. Also, remember to stay hydrated by drinking water, just like you would do during any exercise.
While shoveling, do only a small section at a time and pace yourself, especially if the snow is dense and heavy. Lift with your legs while keeping your back straight to avoid any sprains or strains. If at any time you feel light-headed, nauseous, or short of breath, stop right away. If you experience any pains in your chest, jaw, arms or shoulders, be aware that you may be having a heart attack and call 911.
So take the necessary precautions, and have a safe and enjoyable winter.
The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. With over 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains but in surrounding towns as well when needed. Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green. We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and any other group that may be interested in what we do. In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge. Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you. scotchplainsrescuesquad@gmail.com or call (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies.