Are You a Safe Shoveler?

31 01 2011

When the snow falls you see lots of news coverage of the white stuff. In fact, it’s not supposed to snow here again until Tuesday but it is already the focus of every newscast and one local school system has cancelled all classes. There are stories about business closings, road conditions, accidents and even the shortage or surplus of salt, sand, shovels and snowblowers. And every year, there are also stories about death by shoveling.

We all know snow is heavy and moving it is hard work. But it needs to be done and many of us dig in without giving thought to the danger the strenuous activity can pose. That’s why Lindsey Meyers of the Avera Heart Hospital (South Dakota) tried something new last year.  Something that worked so well, it’s back!

Lindsey approached her local ABC affiliate and a local hardware chain to see if they would help her create “smart shovelers” throughout her service area. She provides medical content and experts and her partners distribute safe shoveling information throughout the months of January and February.

Special shovels were designed and highlight the potential warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack on the handles while the scoop reminds people heart attack is a medical emergency. Each Friday, a shovel is given away and their mere presence in stores is enough to capture attention and get people thinking — and talking. This year, the hardware partner is also offering an in-store drawing for a free snow blower so one lucky person can stop shoveling altogether.

This project is a great example of a low budget tactic unique enough to create a buzz. It’s also proof that there is an endless supply of new and interesting ways to tell our story — even one that gets told year, after year, and year.

And since the snow is coming to Wisconsin (and they say it’s the biggest storm in a decade), I will leave you with the warning signs of heart attack  – something we all should know but too many cannot recall:

  • chest discomfort that lasts a few minutes, or goes away and comes back
  • pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • shortness of breath
  • light-headedness
  • cold sweat
  • nausea along with chest discomfort. 

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