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For most of us, shoveling snow is a necessity in order to keep the walkways and driveways of our homes clear in winter. Snow shoveling provides lots of seasonal exercise, and while it may not be fun for some, it should be safe for everyone. Here are our top tips and techniques to help make this wintertime task easier and safer:
Before you begin
• If you have a back, joint or heart condition, always ask your doctor if you should be shoveling.
• Watch the weather. Although it may be tempting to let the snow melt on its own, if it starts to thaw and then freezes, you will have thick ice to contend with rather than simply snow.
Preparing to shovel
• Do a few stretches before you head out, to warm your muscles and prevent injury.
• Dress in layers to stay warm and, if you start getting overheated, simply loosen or remove a layer or two.
• Always bend your knees slightly and lift with your legs, not your back.
• Try an ergonomic shovel that allows you to push the snow, rather than lift it.
• If you must throw snow, take only as much snow as you can easily lift.
• Take breaks! Don’t try to hurry and get it all done at once, as continuous snow shoveling can be dangerous if you are not in the best physical condition.
• Change your grip on the shovel from time to time, using a palm over and then under to avoid repetitive motions that can lead to joint injury.
• If the snow is heavy, take it off in layers. Go easy and your body will thank you.
Safety tips for those with a garage
It is important to stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning when clearing snow and warming your car. Never run your car in the garage to warm it, even for brief periods. Only once you have cleared enough snow from your driveway, should you open your garage door, start your car and back it out. Carbon monoxide can quickly build up and even leak into your home without your knowledge as it is an odourless, tasteless, colourless, yet deadly gas. Carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen to the brain, may cause CO intoxication and reduce reasoning ability.The extremely high concentrations of carbon monoxide produced by an engine in an enclosed, attached garage can raise CO concentrations so quickly that a person may collapse before they even realize there is a problem.
A monitored carbon monoxide detector can help keep you and your loved ones safe. As for the carbon monoxide detector location, it should be inside an attached garage, within 10 feet of the door. Another important carbon monoxide detector placement would be in any rooms above the garage, especially if they are bedrooms. This way, the carbon monoxide detector alarm will sound, alerting you as soon as there is a danger of rising CO levels. The rule of thumb for the carbon monoxide detector mounting height is 5 feet from the floor, for the best reading of your home’s air.
Shoveling around your car
If you are shoveling snow away from your car, be sure to clear around the exhaust pipes, again to protect yourself from carbon monoxide. Never leave a child unattended in the car while it is running and you are shoveling. Carbon monoxide levels can spike to dangerous levels inside a running vehicle.
These wintertime tips can help keep you safe from injury and harm.
An affordable monitored carbon monoxide detector as part of your Smart Home system can help ensure the air inside your garage and home remains safe.
Don’t delay, call ASAP today at 1.833.422.7776 for more information and book your Smart Home system installation.
Winter shoveling doesn't have to be a pain in the back!
Harsh winter weather is a fact of life in Canada. Our homes become our refuge as days are shorter and colder. We want to cozy up and cocoon in a warm, safe home.
While it’s necessary and economical to do everything possible to keep heat in our homes, we still need to stay safe.
You can keep cold air and drafts out with double-glazed windows and doors and thorough insulation. You can enjoy alternate heat with fires in the fireplace or wood-burning stoves. You can ensure the perimeter of doors and windows are sealed and airtight with simple weather stripping kits found at hardware stores. But, to stay energy efficient and safe, follow these tips:
Schedule a mid-winter furnace tune-up
A mid-winter furnace tune-up could ensure you never experience a broken furnace during a winter cold snap. You’ll also enjoy the benefits of reduced heating costs, as well as detection of any leaking gas. Signs that your furnace needs a tune up:
• Visible damage
• Unusual or loud noises
• Odd smells
• Poor air quality - evidenced by increased dust in your home and asthma-like conditions among family members
Maintain baseboard heaters
If you have electric baseboard heaters in your home, make sure you vacuum the fins regularly and keep drapes and curtains several inches above their hot surfaces. Thermal drapes that are closed at night keep cold air out, and then opened to harness the heat of the sun will make a difference in your comfort level and heating bill!
Protect your home from fire
Winter is the deadliest season for home fires, with heating as the second leading cause of home fires, deaths and injuries.  Today, most homes have a smoke detector, but if you’re using stand-alone, retail smoke detectors and you’re not there when the alarm sounds or if it doesn’t wake you from a deep sleep, a fire can damage your home or even turn deadly. When you opt for a monitored smoke detector, as soon as the alarm sounds, a signal is sent to a monitoring centre, which in turn, contacts you (or a designated contact person) and first responders, if necessary.
As for your smoke detector locations: have a kitchen smoke detector, a smoke or heat detector in your garage and outside all bedrooms and sleeping areas. It is recommended that you replace your smoke detector battery at least once a year. A good reminder for changing the battery is when daylight savings time begins and ends, so if you didn’t do it in November, it may be overdue.
Don’t fall victim to the silent killer
You protect your home from fire, but you should also be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Called “the silent killer”, CO is an odorless, colorless gas, that you cannot see, smell or taste. Yet, it can become deadly in minutes.  By the time CO begins to affect you, you may already be compromised with dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, blurred vision and loss of consciousness. In winter months, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning rises with fires in fireplaces, heating sources, water heaters. A monitored carbon monoxide detector can help keep you and your family safe. In order to ensure your protection, carbon monoxide detector placement should be on every floor in your home, as well as near attached garages. Important! Carbon monoxide detector mounting height: Get the best reading of your home’s air when you install your detector 5 feet from the floor.
Winter can be a great season to enjoy when your home is safe and energy efficient.
For more details on how an ADT by Telus Smart Security system can help keep your home and family safe this winter with monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, call us at 1-833-422-7776.
1. National Fire Protection Association
2. Health Link BC
Wintertime… getting up is harder, days are shorter and colder.
Yet there is so much to do! Getting the kids to school and you to work or an appointment? Getting dressed for the outdoors, cleaning the snow off the sidewalk and car, it’s all working against you and slowing you down. Now’s not the season to let safety slide. Follow our top tips for winter car safety.
Check the weather reports every evening to know if you’ll need more time in the morning to dig out or clear off your car. Before driving off, always clear your entire car of snow and ice, including mirrors, all windows and the top of your car. It’s dangerous to leave snow on your car’s roof. It can fly off and hit another car on the road or, when you make a stop, come sliding down onto your own windshield, potentially damaging wipers and obstructing your view.
Car parked in the garage? Stay safe!
Parking your car in a garage can make your winter travel routine easier. Your car is sheltered from the elements and you save some time clearing snow and ice from windows . If your car is parked in an attached garage and the motor is running, carbon monoxide can quickly build up and seep into your home. Never start your car and leave it running in a garage. An ADT by Telus interactive remote garage door opener works with smart technology. Open and close your garage door from your smartphone and receive notifications if you’ve forgotten to lock it, then secure it in an instant from the easy-to-use app.
Driving in snow and ice? Avoid these winter mistakes!
- Too little gas in your tank. Always keep your tank at least half full, winter weather can mean unexpected delays on the road.
- Not maintaining your car battery, wiper blades and tire pressure.
In very cold temperatures, your battery works harder when you're starting your car. Winter wiper blades can help keep your windshield clear in winter storms. Tire pressure can drop along with the temperature. Making sure all these essentials are maintained will keep you safer on the road.
- Winter driving without proper snow tires. Tests consistently show that snow tires deliver better traction and grip in snow and on icy surfaces. They offer an extra margin of performance and safety over both all-season and all-terrain tires.
- Unnecessary lane changes. Be patient! Stay in your lane! A few minutes of patience could save you from a winter accident.
• Cruise control. Never use cruise control when dealing with slick winter road conditions. Cruise control could add more power at the wrong time, leading to a loss of control. Retain full control of your gas pedal, brakes and steering for safe driving.
Drive with emergency supplies.
You need more than a snow brush and ice scraper in your car in winter. Make sure your car contains a winter driving safety kit that includes:
• Warm, practical winter clothing, including boots designed for walking
• Emergency reflectors
• Tire traction mats and rock salt
• First aid kit
• Extra windshield washer fluid
• Water and non-perishable snacks
ADT by Telus Smart Security can help with your winter comfort and convenience.