Two people in Penobscot County died while clearing heavy snow, the sheriff’s office said on Wednesday.
Deputies from the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office and emergency medical services responded to two separate and unrelated instances of people suffering fatal medical events while moving heavy snow. The sheriff’s office did not release the details of those events or when they took place.
Police issued tips for clearing heavy snow safely in advance of another snowstorm that’s expected to reach Bangor Wednesday evening and continue into Thursday morning.
That storm is predicted to drop another up to 8 inches of snow, sleet and rain on top of the more than a foot the Bangor region received on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
The National Safety Council recommends stretching before shoveling, pushing heavy snow rather than lifting, and shoveling fresh snow because it’s lighter. If someone needs to lift heavy snow, lift with your knees instead of your back and only fill the shovel partially if the snow is too heavy to lift.
People should also stop shoveling if they’re feeling unwell and call 911 if they’re experiencing the signs of a heart attack, the safety council says.
When snowblowing, the safety council recommends keeping one’s hands clear of moving parts and turning the machine off before attempting to clear a jam. Fuel should also be added to the machine outdoors and never while the snowblower is running.
The sheriff’s office also pointed to a February 2022 article by cardiologist Dr. Payal Kohli that addresses the demands moving heavy snow in cold temperatures can have on a person’s heart.
“Sadly, in many cases, strenuous physical activity and cold temperatures can lead to death,” the sheriff’s office wrote.