Businesses should clear their sidewalks immediately after snow stops falling. Homeowners, property managers, renters and all others responsible for clearing snow need to do so by the next day.
City inspectors routinely make rounds after significant snowfall and leave property owners a notice for those who hadn’t cleared yet. A follow-up inspection is conducted within 4 hours for commercial properties and 24 hours for residential properties. Properties that still have snowy/icy sidewalks during the follow-up inspection will receive a $150 fine.
Residents around areas that have not been shoveled or cleared 24 hours after snow has ceased can call 311 to report the area in need of removal.
How to prevent injury when shoveling snow
Denver Health offers tips to keep people safe while cleaning up after a snowstorm. Some of the most common injuries include back injuries and heart-related incidents.
- Dress appropriately: Light, layered, clothing provides both ventilation and insulation. It’s important to keep your head warm and wear mittens or gloves and thick, warm socks. Avoid falls by wearing shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles.
- Start early: Try to clear snow early and often. Begin removing snow when it begins to cover the ground to avoid dealing with packed, heavy snow.
- Pace yourself: Snow removal is an aerobic activity. Take frequent breaks and prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or other signs of a heart attack, stop the activity and seek emergency care by calling 911.
- Proper equipment: Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. Do not use a shovel that is too heavy or too long for you. Space your hands on the tool grip to increase your leverage. Use a small shovel or consider a snow thrower. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts more times, than to lug a few huge shovelfuls of snow. When possible, simply push the snow.
- Proper lifting: Try to push the snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, do it properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent, and back straight. Lift with your legs. Avoid bending at the waist. Scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel and walk to where you want to dump it. Holding a shovelful of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine. Never remove deep snow all at once. Do it in pieces.
- Safe technique: Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back.
- Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia: Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, dress in layers of warm clothing, which traps air between layers forming a protective insulation. Wear a hat because much of your body’s heat can be lost through your head.
City program to help those in need of assistance
Denver has a volunteer program called Snow Angels to help elderly residents and those physically unable to shovel snow after a storm. The city’s eligibility requirements include being unable to pay for a service and having neighbors with a disability unable to help.