Safety concerns in aftermath of blizzard

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February 12, 2013, 6:57 pm
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(NECN: Kristen Carosa) - With all the snow out there, people need to take precaution when removing it. Hospitals are seeing an increase in medical situations related to heavy exertion.
“The variety of calls is always interesting but volume always goes up,” says Dr. Marc Restuccia, UMass Memorial’s medical director.

Dr. Restuccia says hospitals get busy quick when a storm hits the area. He says UMass received many emergency calls during the blizzard.

“We had some people that had heart attacks from shoveling snow, unfortunately. We had slips and falls, especially with the elderly because it has been so slippery outside. We also had some carbon monoxide calls.”

The city of Worcester has seen one snow-related death: a man had a heart attack while shoveling. Friends say he was in his 50s.

Dr. Restuccia says people need to take care of snow removal in stages.

“Unfortunately as we get older, our chances for heart disease go up and we really can't predict who is going to be at risk so being cautious is the best way to go.”

The snow is causing concern for students, too. Children headed back to school Tuesday.

The school department is asking all drivers to proceed with caution.
“We are asking that people driving vehicles be extremely patient at all bus stops because the loading process will take way more time,” says Robert Pezzella, the Worcester safety liaison.

Pezzella says un-shoveled sidewalks and piles of snow make it dangerous for children walking to school. He says be aware of students blocked by snow banks.

“There is only so much that snow can be shoveled onto sidewalks and street corners so when you get to a street corner we are asking that you be aware of the fact that a young child could be walking in the street.”

UMass EMS Director Michael Hunter says students and adults alike need to be mindful of where they are walking. He says as snow melts during the day it refreezes at night and slips and falls can become a huge problem.

“Wear the right shoes; we can prevent a lot of slip and fall injuries if you wear appropriate footwear and when you shovel off driveways and sidewalks. Be sure to salt and sand.”

Tags: snow, heart attack, shoveling, UMass Memorial Medical Center, worcester massachusetts, Kristen carosa, dr. marc restuccia, ems director michael hunter, safety liaison robet pezzella
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