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Archive for January 17th, 2011

17.01.11 – Snow removal is big business in Finland. Even before stepping out of the door, the sounds of the trucks and front-end loaders clearing the streets and sidewalks can be heard churning away outside. Throughout the day, navigating the city on foot, staying alert for the snow removal crews is a matter of survival ;)

At least three or four times a day, I’ll come across a sidewalk cutoff by yellow and red warning tape. The tape is to prevent pedestrians from getting dumped on as snow removal crews shovel the snow from the roof of the building. The deep “thump” of the snow hitting the ground makes it obvious the precaution is not a matter of convenience. Getting hit by one of their “droppings” would definitely ruin your day.

The whole process is an exercise in safety. While most of the crew are rigged like mountain climbers above there is always someone below with a whistle and/or walkie-talkie. There are times they are removing snow above a business and they have to pause to let customers come and go.

Once the roofs have been cleared, the crews then begin clearing the sidewalks below. The process is lengthy but necessary as it’s not uncommon to see in the news how someone has been injured by falling snow or ice.

I guess it’s a part of dealing with the winter in Finland. It’s easy to wind up staring at the ground so you don’t slip on the ice but it’s best to look up too.

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Here’s another related story about clearing snow from the roofs of Helsinki from a Finnish photo-blogger, PPusa. Be sure to checkout his blog as he posts a picture a day.

Roofs Are Being Cleared from Snow... …all around Helsinki to protect the people on the streets and the roofs. Last year 6 persons died in Finland and at least 150 were hospitalized while doing this although earlier such accidents have been rare. A government minister caused a panic by saying that roofs should be cleared urgently. Many hurried to the slippery roofs of their single family houses without any safety precautions and too often the snow wasn’t even causing any real risk. … Read More

via Helsinki According to PPusa

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