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Tips for Sidewalk Snow & Ice Removal

Keeping your sidewalks clear of ice and snow can be a challenge during Edmonton winters. Here are some tips to help you do your part to keep everyone moving safely in our difficult weather.

Plan Ahead:

  • Be sure you have the proper tools to maintain your walks. A good snow shovel, an ice chipper and sand are all essentials that you should have throughout the winter months.

Take Care of Your Body:

  • If you are not physically active or have an ongoing health condition, check with your doctor to make sure the physical strain of clearing snow and ice is okay.
  • Dress in multiple layers of warm clothing. You should also wear supportive boots with a good grip.
  • Warm up and stretch your muscles before you start shovelling or chipping by walking around the block.
  • Be sure to take frequent breaks while you work, at least once every 10-15 minutes.

Shovelling:

  • The best shovels to use have a small blade and ergonomic handle with a gentle curve.
  • Push the snow as you shovel; it's easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
  • Don't pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one.
  • Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and "sitting" into the movement, you'll keep your spine upright and less stressed. Your shoulders, torso and thighs can do the work for you. 
  • Spray the shovel blade with cooking oil if the snow is sticking to it.
  • Clearing snow soon after it falls prevents it from being packed down and becoming ice, which is harder to remove.

Clearing Ice:

  • Warm weather during the day can make ice soft, so it's easier to chip or shovel away.
  • Spread sand or gravel on icy patches to make your sidewalk safer for pedestrians. Spreading sand on a sidewalk before ice forms can also make future ice easier to remove. Free sand is available at your local Community League.
  • Microwaving sand in a microwave-safe container and spreading it while it is still warm can make it more effective. It will embed itself in to the ice, creating a gritty top layer.
  • Pile snow in a place where it will not run across your sidewalk when it melts and aim your downspouts away from areas where people walk to keep your sidewalks clear during freeze-thaw cycles. Just remember it is illegal to pile snow on public property (including roads and boulevards).

Immediately Stop Shovelling and Seek Medical Attention If You Experience:

  • Discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arms or neck.
  • Unusual or prolonged shortness of breath.
  • A prolonged dizzy or faint feeling.
  • Excessive sweating or nausea and vomiting.
  • Excessive back pain.