With New England and the East Coast bearing the brunt of Nemo this past weekend, it’s important to note that the end of the storm can be just the beginning of additional problems for those affected communities. As those of us in the snow belt know all too well, the aftermath of a winter storm can have an impact on a community for months. Cold temperatures, coastal flooding, and snow accumulations which melt and freeze repeatedly can create additional hazardous conditions. Here are three areas on which to focus ASAP:
• Ensure your dryer and furnace vents are clear and not blocked by snow pushing dangerous fumes back into the house. Every year the papers report a tragic death from CO poisoning because an outside vent to a fuel-burning appliance becomes covered with snow. CO is often known as the “silent killer” because it cannot be seen or smelled and poisoning takes place very quickly. Trying to get warm in a car with a blocked tailpipe can also be extremely dangerous as well.
• Rake your roof. The best way to clean a roof and prevent ice dams is a simple roof rake. Raking the roof helps clear overhangs, relieving excess weight on the weakest part of your roof. In fact, for every 10 foot by 10 foot section of roof with a foot of snow, you have an extra 2000 lbs. of weight. With an average roof of 1400 square feet and one foot of wet snow, you now have 28,000 lbs. (or 14 tons) of weight. Before using your rake on the roof, make a path around the house to protect against stumbling or falling over a drift. Use your rake carefully to begin scraping snow off the roof – it may not all come off but you don’t have to get it down to the shingles for the raking to be effective. Then let Mother Nature take its course.
• Finally, avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of death during the winter. Take frequent rests yourself and look after elderly neighbors