The Calgary fire department is warning people about the dangers of rushing to clear snow from their roofs even though the dome of a golf centre caved in under the weight of heavy snow over the weekend.
Up to 25 centimetres of snow fell on parts of Calgary over the weekend, leading to collapse of the domed roof of an indoor golf facility in the northwest.
The Eaglequest Golf Dome located on the Fox Hollow Golf Course gave way on Sunday afternoon. Nine people inside managed to get out safely.
Officials will look into whether the dome was regularly maintained as the structure, which is supported by air pressure, is designed to naturally shed snow and ice buildup.
"All owners and operators of buildings, especially where they're entertaining the public, should be looking at their buildings very carefully to make sure they're being maintained so that there's no failures," said Kevin Griffiths, the city's manager of building regulations.
But Barry Dawson, a spokesman for the fire department, advised that people should hire professionals to clear snow from their roofs to prevent serious injuries.
"Have a local roofing company or building professional check it out," he said about any structural concerns. "We don't suggest that people clear snow from their roofs."
The snowfall is keeping professional companies busy. Alicia Williams from Calgary Landscape Maintenance said she and her crew started work at 3 a.m. on Monday.
Clearing the front of a business complex with metal shovels, she had some advice for those at home: "Bend your knees, and use your legs as leverage."
Snow shovelling-related injuries on the rise
Calgary chiropractor D.J. LeDrew said he's noticing more patients with lower back injuries from clearing snow this season.
"With a lot of the snowy weather, we're seeing a lot more patients who are having kind of an acute episode of low back pain from the lifting of the heavy snow," he told CBC News on Monday.
'If you are forced to lift, try to face what you're lifting. Use your legs and not twist.' —D.J. LeDrew, chiropractor
"It's important to get out and, and try and warm up a little bit … before you start shoveling. Even, you know, simply walking up and down the block."
He advised shovellers to push the snow as opposed to lifting it.
"If you are forced to lift, try to face what you're lifting. Use your legs and not twist," LeDrew said.
Paramedics are also advising people to be especially careful if they're not used to strenuous activity.
"If you do … live a sedentary lifestyle and you do increase your heart rate in a flash, that could cause some constriction of blood vessels and increase workload on your heart," said Adam Loria, a spokesman for Calgary Emergency Medical Services.
The city is encouraging Calgarians to help shovel their neighbour's walk by offering a $800 WestJet trip as a prize to anyone who is nominated as a Snow Angel.
Volunteers can submit their names through 311.