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Preparing for the winter storm: Businesses and road crews nail down a game plan

Posted at 11:17 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 19:41:58-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Metro Detroiters are heading into the stores to make sure they are prepared for a winter storm that’s expected this week.

“I heard on the news they said there was going to be a lot of snow on Wednesday," Miller Haymer said.

He heard the area is expecting 10 to 14 inches of snowfall in the coming days, so he made sure he had a bag of salt in his shopping cart.

“You know I got my daughter too. I got to put some salt around her house too," Haymer said.

Salt is a hot item right now. The team at Greenfield Supply Center in Detroit says, "people are getting ready."

“It’s been hectic. We’ve been slammed with plow trucks, salt spreaders," said Daniel Genorde, the assistant manager at the supply shop.

He says if you own a snowplow, now is the time to make sure it's working.

“Try pull starting it a couple times. If it doesn’t, drain the fuel, get fresh fuel in it. There’s paddles on it, scrappers make sure those are in good shape," Genorde said.

Haymer says he's good to go.

"I already started it up. I started it up from the last storm we have, so it's fine," he said.

When the snow finally does fall, there are some things to consider before you pick up that shovel.

Medical leaders say shoveling can increase the risk of a heart attack.

“Shoveling snow is really more hard work and it puts a lot of strain on the heart," Dr. Sam Kazziha said. He's the chief of Cardiovascular Services at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital.

"It's not unusual after a snowstorm that we will have a couple patients the next morning with heart attacks," Kazziha said.

To avoid an emergency visit to the hospital, he says avoid shoveling in the morning when your blood is more likely to clot.

“Try to use a smaller shovel and give yourself breaks every 15 minutes," he said.

Kazziha says some typical symptoms of a heart attack include chest tightness or pressure, a feeling of indigestion, neck or jaw discomfort, light-headedness, shortness of breath, tingling down the arms, cold sweats or feeling nauseous.

To help find out how healthy your heart is, Health Ford Health System has a quick “Get Heart Smart Quiz” available online that can help you learn how healthy their heart is before picking up that snow shovel throughout Heart Month in February. To learn more, visit the health system’s website.

But if you need to step outside and remove the snow off the ground, below are some helpful tips from Kazziha on snow shoveling:

  • Dress warm and in layers. A hat, gloves and snow boots are a must. Cover your mouth and nose to limit the cold air you’re inhaling.
  • Don’t shovel large portions all at once. Clear small areas at a time and take periodic breaks.
  • Push the snow using quick, short strokes instead of lifting it. If the snow is deep, clear it in layers to avoid fatigue.
  • Even better, hire a service or your neighbor’s kid.

As people are home taking care of their health and driveways, county leaders say they'll be working around the clock.

“The challenge will be that if the snow is coming down at the rates they are predicting, the road’s snow will cover over despite our best efforts," said Craig Bryson with Oakland County.

Leaders say clearing the main roads are a priority. They say if you don't need to be on the roads, stay off and stay indoors.