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January 27, 2004
Toronto EMS Paramedics advise caution when shoveling snow
Paramedics from Toronto EMS want to remind everyone that snow shoveling can be
very strenuous and caution must be used to prevent heart attacks or injury.

Freshly fallen snow is beautiful but it can also be dangerous. For example, if
you load a shovel with 10 pounds of snow once every 5 seconds, you would move
120 pounds of snow in one minute. Keep that pace up for 17 minutes and you will
have shoveled one ton of snow!

Research studies indicate that changes in heart rate and blood pressure while
shoveling snow can equal or exceed their upper heart rate limit for aerobic
exercise training and have also identified a link between snow shoveling and
heart attacks. In fact, significantly more fatal heart attacks were recorded in
the weeks during and after snowstorms.

Safe snow shoveling requires proper preparation, the right tools, good
technique and knowledge.

Toronto EMS advises you to think twice before shoveling 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 leading a sedentary lifestyle

Injury can also be prevented if appropriate precautions are taken. Tips for
safe snow shoveling can be found on the Toronto EMS Web site at:

Dean Shaddock, Toronto EMS Community Medicine Program, 416-338-0473
Larry Roberts, Toronto EMS Media Relations, 416-392-2255



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