2 men die after snow blowing in Canton, Rochester Hills

Michael James Moersch one of men dead after snow blowing

Two men in Metro Detroit have died after snow blowing over the past 24 hours. 

A 70-year-old man in Canton Township and 55-year-old man from Rochester Hills both died after trying to clear the snow, Local 4 has learned. 

The 70-year-old man has been identified as Michael James Moersch. Officials said cardiovascular disease and obesity led to his death after snow blowing. 

The Rochester Hills man is believed to have died from a heart attack after snow blowing. The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said it's still unclear what caused this man's death, but he did die after snow blowing. 

From the Sheriff's Office: 

"Until the Medical Examiner determines cause of death we cannot say whether or not this death is snow related.  He had finished blowing snow with a snow blower at 3:30 p.m. and went to his bedroom at that time.  He was found  unresponsive at 5:30 p.m. and per his parents he had no known health issues."

An autopsy is needed to confirm an official cause of death. 

No other details are available at this time.

Stay with ClickOnDetroit for more information as it becomes available. 

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Safety tips

The Wayne County Community College District's Michigan Institute for Public Safety Education offers the following snow shoveling and blowing tips: 

SNOW BLOWERS

Snow blowers make clearing snow much easier than having to shovel it. But like any machine, they can be
dangerous if operators don't take adequate safety precautions when using them.

To be safe when using a snow blower:

• Clear the area of any debris before you begin snow removal.
• Direct snow away from people and vehicles.
• Don't exceed the blower's capacity.
• Always stop the engine before cleaning snow from blades or chute.
• Never put your hand in the discharge chute. When the engine is turned off, clear away snow or debris with
a shovel handle.
• Shut off engine and remove the spark plug wire before making repairs or mechanical adjustments.
• When clearing slopes, work up and down the slope, not across the face.
• Never leave a running snow blower unattended.
• Always handle and store gasoline safely.

SHOVELING

Shoveling snow is an extremely strenuous activity, especially if there's a lot of snow or if the snow is wet and
heavy. You have to be careful of overexertion, which could lead to an injury.

To prevent injuries when shoveling snow:

• Stretch for a couple of minutes before shoveling to loosen up back, shoulder, neck, arm, and leg muscles.
• Pace yourself as you shovel to prevent overexertion. Start slow and give yourself a chance to warm up. Once
you are warmed up, maintain a steady pace to reduce stress on your body.
• Lift smaller amounts when snow is heavy and wet.
• Breathe in while lifting and out while throwing.
• Keep your feet shoulder width apart for balance.
• Hold the shovel close to your body for better leverage and less strain.
• Push snow rather than lifting it when possible, especially when the snow is heavy. For example, push snow
to the edge of walkways and then lift and throw it. This way you avoid continual lifting and you don't have
to throw snow as far.
• When lifting a shovel full of snow, bend your knees, keep your back straight, tighten your stomach muscles,
and lift with your legs.
• Avoid twisting your body when you throw the snow from the shovel. Twisting can cause muscle strain,
especially in your lower back.
• When shoveling stairs, stand lower than the step you are shoveling and pull snow toward you. Repeat until
you reach the bottom step. Then scoop, lift, and throw snow more easily.

Take breaks from time to time to give your muscles a chance to relax and avoid muscle strain.


About the Authors:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.