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Tuesday
Mar142017

How to guard against snow dangers to your health and home

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As much of the Northeast braces for a blizzard that could dump a foot of snow in some areas, authorities are warning to take precautions against potential snow related dangers -- from roof collapses to heart attacks.

Here are a few winter safety tips experts shared on ABC News' Good Morning America Tuesday to help keep your home and family safe as the late-season snowfall blankets the East Coast:

How to protect your home during a winter storm

More than 200 roofs have collapsed in Idaho's Washington County this winter, causing close to $4 million in damages.

Retired fire captain Scott Warner of Morris County Public Safety Training Academy shared the signs people should watch out for that could indicate structural damage.

"You can hear some creaking and popping," he said. "Some crackling noise of the wood starting to fall."

Warner also said if you hear those noises to "get out as fast as you can."

How to protect your heart health while shoveling snow

The American Heart Association warned that shoveling snow may put some people at an increased risk of a heart attack. The group said that the physical exertion of shoveling snow, combined with the cold temperatures, can put an extra strain on your heart.

The association released tips for "heart-safe snow shoveling," which include not eating a big meal before going out to shovel snow, taking frequent breaks, using a small shovel or a snow blower, and learning the heart attack warning signs.

Dr. Rahul Sharma, emergency physician in chief at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell, explained how you can be putting yourself at risk.

"When you shovel snow, your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure goes up and being out in the cold actually constricts your blood vessels," Sharma said Tuesday on Good Morning America. "Now, if you're a young person who's fit, it shouldn't really be a big issue. But if you're elderly and have underlying heart problems, this could actually set you up for a heart attack because of the decreased blood flow as well as increased workload on the heart."

Sharma also offered tips on the best ways to shovel.

"The most important thing is be prepared, stretch," he said. "You want to go forward. You don't want to lift."

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