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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Fort Washington Man Suffers Snow Shoveling Death

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

With over a foot of snow already on the ground and more still falling a Fort Washington man appears to have suffered a heart attack while shoveling snow at his home.  At around 8:30 am, Firefighters and Medics from the Fort Washington Fire/EMS Station responded to the 1200 block of Sandy Bar Drive and found the man in cardiac arrest.  Firefighters and Medics did their very best in attempting to revive the man, however, despite their valiant efforts he was pronounced deceased.

At around 10:30 am the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME-MD) confirmed to Prince George’s County Public Safety Communications that this was a storm related death.

The Fire/EMS Department does not release the names of medical patient fatalities.  Additional information can be obtained through the OCME.

This weekend’s storm is certainly living up to the forecast.  High snow totals are being recorded across the region with cold temperatures and high wind gusts, a true winter blizzard.

This winter storm has produced enough snow that clearing sidewalks, driveways and other areas will be a challenge to shovel, especially for those that have an existing heart condition and other medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure and anyone over the age of 50.  Limit shoveling to only a few minutes at a time, shovel smaller amounts, and take frequent breaks.

Be warned that the snow that has fallen so far has been of the lighter powder texture.  It is anticipated that this afternoon’s snowfall will be the heavy and wet texture.  The heavy and wet snow adds weight to your shoveling, requires high energy and is dangerous to your health.

Use smaller shovels; perhaps a narrow shovel that will not allow you to pick up big amounts.

Cold temperatures also will affect your health when shoveling.  You will exert high energy when shoveling which will make you breath harder and more often.  Deep and frequent breathing will result in inhaling colder air that will constrict your lungs and airways making the exchange of oxygen into your bloodstream difficult.  When you venture outdoors this weekend wear clothing that will cover your mouth and nose.

Ask a neighborhood youth to clear your walks for you or be a good neighbor and clear the snow for your senior citizen neighbor.

If you experience signs and symptoms of a heart attack, which include, chest pains, difficulty breathing, heaviness on your chest, numbness in your neck and left arm, call 911 immediately.

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