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Area expert discusses dangers of extreme cold when shoveling snow

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. – Winter weather is wreaking havoc across the area, and with these extreme temperatures, being exposed just for a few minutes can cause serious damage to your body.

Dustin Lunow from the Joplin Fire Department says we should be limiting our exposure to the elements, as well as preparing for any worst case scenarios.

“As little as possible, it is very very cold,” said Lunow. “As the roads are actually getting cleared today it is still very very cold. You need to have an emergency kit in your car. You need to make sure that your phone battery and everything is available to you. It would not take a long time in this kind of environment to get somebody hurt.”

These dangerous conditions are even worse for the most vulnerable communities.

When Luke Vieselmeyer’s classes moved online due to weather conditions, he used the opportunity to help his neighbors in need offering to shovel snow from their driveways.

“Well, we’ve had numerous people that may be elderly,” said Vieselmeyer. “You know it’s hard for them to get out in this weather, cold, below freezing for sure. And it’s hard to snow shovel anyways whenever it’s this low. It helps people out, helps them not get sick. And I’d rather us get sick than elders.”

Vieselmeyer adds that he knows how cold it is and wants to protect his neighbors who may be more vulnerable.

“We had a disabled person that had a wheelchair we helped out today. We shoveled her driveway and if they need it we salt it for them. It’s cold so we’re out doing it for them”

Lunow says when shoveling show, it’s important to take regular breaks.

“The best thing you can do is one, dress properly; two, have work intervals. Your body just can’t handle that type of cold for prolonged durations,” said Lunow.

He says only to work fifteen to twenty minutes at a time, with time in-between to properly warm up.

Lunlow added that in addition to taking breaks while shoveling snow, staying hydrated is important.

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