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Locals begin moving snow early, hoping to avoid fines and injuries

If you fail to clear your sidewalks within 48 hours, you could face fines. Shovel too much too fast, and you could end up injured.

Posted: Jan. 18, 2019 11:32 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa – Portions of Northern Iowa saw in excess of six-inches of snow throughout Friday while portions of Austin saw as many as 10. That coating had residents in Mason City clearing their driveways and sidewalks. But it didn’t take residents long to get on top of clearing those surfaces thanks to an ordinance in place.

“I think the sidewalks have to be cleared 24 hours after the snowfall,” Patty Strottman told KIMT.

According to Mason City Administator, Aaron Burnett, residents actually have 48 hours to clear their walkways. Failure to do so will result in the city completing the task. The property owner will then be charged for that work and extra fees.

For Strottman, she didn’t mind getting out into the winter wonderland and getting some exercise since it was a light, powdery snow.

“Well, it’s not too bad right now although it’s still snowing,” said Strottman. “The snow is pretty light and fluffy right now so it’s not a backbreaker, just chilly.”

Jennifer Anderson agreed with that statement, but says she’s not surprised considering where she lives.

“Yeah, it’s a little cold and windy but it’s not bad, it’s Iowa,” said Anderson.

In the event the snow and wind fills in all of her hard work overnight, Anderson says she’s prepared to do it all over again.

“It is what it is, I’m not worried about it,” Anderson laughed.

While the snow may not have seemed difficult to move, both individuals should have been aware of the risks associated with moving snow. According to Mayo Clinic, nearly 11,000 individuals are hospitalized each year for injuries related to snow shoveling.

According to the National Safety Council, there are five precautions persons should take when shoveling.
1. Warm up: Get your muscles ready with 10 minutes of light exercise.
2. Take it slow: Give yourself frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids.
3. Don’t pick up too much at once: Use a small shovel, or only fill ½ of a large one.
4. Push instead of lifting the snow: If you must lift, do so with your legs bent, not your back.
5. Dress warmly: Wear hats, gloves, and thick socks.

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