Posted in Patch by Eric Kiefer
Read some snow slaying suggestions for NJ senior citizens, disabled residents, tech lovers and people who simply hate to shovel.
Shoveling snow can be downright deadly if underestimated, some experts say.
According to the Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, every year more than 11,500 people suffer a heart attack after shoveling snow. Last year, the hospital cautioned people with a cardiac history, as well as those who haven’t been to see a doctor recently, to think twice about picking up a shovel.
“When a person’s body is cold, particularly their extremities, their blood vessels constrict, adding more stress to the heart,” cardiologist Sabino Torre said.
Torre advised those who experience any chest discomfort, arm pain, or difficulty breathing while shoveling that does not resolve with rest to go to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
- See related article: These Snow Shoveling Tips Might Save Your Life (VIDEOS)
- See related article: Snow Shoveling Can Be Deadly, NJ Cardiologist Cautions
With doctors’ advice in mind, here are three ways to avoid shoveling snow in New Jersey.
PHONE A FRIEND: SNOW PLOWING APPS
Taking a cue from Uber and other app-based services, a host of snow removal experts are more than willing to come scoop up all that white stuff in your driveway… for a price.
One such company, Plowz & Mowz, went live in November in New Jersey, launching in Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties (see video below).
“You are able to order before, during, or after the snow fall in your area,” the company states on its website. “With live updates and real time ETAs we are able to provide the status of the driver who is assigned to your job and we submit a completed photo to our app when the job is done.”
- See related article: NJ Snow Removal Law Protects Solicitation Rights
Snowed-in Garden State residents might also want to give their competitor, SnoHub a whirl. The app-based service, which recently expanded to New Jersey, connects customers with licensed contractors who come to their homes with snowblowers.
Variables such as driveway length, snow depth, type of service requested and zip code determine the ultimate cost of clearing your property, SnoHub states on its website. (Learn more about this company here)
Looking for an old-fashioned human touch? Another service, The Shovler App, which recruits and assigns neighborhood shovelers to local homes, at the touch of a smartphone, has been operating in New Jersey for the last three years, MyCentralJersey reported. (Learn more about this company here)
SHOVELING HELP FOR ELDERLY, DISABLED
Some government agencies in New Jersey offer assistance to senior citizens and disabled residents who can’t remove snowfall from their properties.
For example, the Salem County Health Department runs a “residential maintenance” program for local senior citizens, which provides yard and sidewalk care, including snow removal, to those unable to do it themselves during heavy storms. (Learn more about the program here)
In Jersey City, the municipal “JC Shovels” program uses volunteer power to help seniors with low incomes and disabled homeowners with snow removal. (Learn how to sign up or volunteer here)
In Brick, volunteers with the town’s Snow Corps assist local senior citizens and disabled residents by shoveling walkways, driveways and sidewalks.
- See related article: Winter Storm Forecast May Put Brick’s Snow Corps In Action
And in Camden County, a unique program allows screened, nonviolent jail inmates – who are guarded at all times – to give back to their community by digging out their more vulnerable neighbors. (Learn how to sign up here)
- See related article: Camden County Inmates Shovel Snow For Seniors And Disabled Residents
ROBOT SNOWBLOWERS: COMING SOON?
The ultimate wintertime dream, of course, is to completely phase out the arduous task of snow shoveling by giving the job to someone who doesn’t mind the work… a robot.
For now, there’s no commercial “snow shoveling robot” available on the market. But that doesn’t mean entrepreneurs aren’t trying to make it happen.
According to the inventors of the Kobi, their gadget can “autonomously remove the snow in small quantities while it is falling” using a combination of high-end GPS and several sensors.
The Kobi’s creators claim that the device “proactively” removes snow, connecting to the local weather forecast to start removing the white stuff as it falls. When it finishes the first passing, it pauses and waits for more snow to fall while recharging. The gadget also has several sensors to detect its surroundings and “will instantly stop in case of irregularities.”
Users control the Kobi via an app for their smartphones, and the device has WiFi, Bluetooth and mobile data connectivity. It can also be used to mow lawns and remove leaves, its inventors say.
“Early bird units” are sold out the company announced last year – a situation that apparently hasn’t changed – but you can learn more here.
In addition to the Kobi, a host of other hopefuls have sprung up with social media videos promising an end to snow shoveling. However, none of them have made the leap from prototype to mass market… yet.