Engine in snowFebruary 12, 2019

Thanks to everyone who has heeded public safety warnings to stay home and off the road. Your diligence helped keep our call volumes down during the first few days of the storm. Last night and into today we’re seeing a spike in calls mostly due to trees and wires down.

Please continue to stay off the roadways if possible. It is still a mess out there. In addition to snow, slush and ice, there are tree limbs and other obstacles.

Snow load on roofs and decks

Snow load on roofs is a concern, but personal safety trumps property. Exercise extreme caution and your best judgment when contemplating trying to clear a roof or gutters. Do not add your weight to overstressed roofs or decks in an attempt to clear it. 

If you think your roof or deck is overstressed, keep out of or off of the structure. Some signs of overstress conditions: 
• Sagging ceiling tiles or boards, ceiling boards falling out of the ceiling grid, and/or sagging sprinkler lines and sprinkler heads
• Sprinkler heads deflecting below suspended ceilings 
• Popping, cracking, and creaking noises 
• Sagging roof members, including metal decking or plywood sheathing 
• Bowing truss bottom chords or web members 
• Doors and/or windows that can no longer be opened or closed 
• Cracked or split wood members 
• Cracks in walls or masonry 
• Severe roof leaks 
• Excessive accumulation of water at nondrainage locations on low slope roofs 

Frozen pipes

Firefighters anticipate an increase in 911 calls for burst water pipes. Freezing water can expand and rupture plastic and metal water pipes. In most cases, this damage becomes apparent when the water begins to thaw.

Take steps now to prevent frozen pipes:
• Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow room temperature air to circulate around pipes.
• Let cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes.
• Locate your water shut-off valves so if your pipes do burst you can act quickly to limit damage.
How to tell if pipes are frozen:
• If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places include exterior walls and locations where water service enters your home through the foundation.

To thaw frozen pipes:
• Keep the faucet open to help melt ice in the pipe.
• Thaw slowly by wrapping the pipe in a towel soaked in hot water, exposing the pipe to room temperature or carefully using a portable space heater (kept away from flammable material).
• Do not use a blow torch, kerosene or propane heater or other open flames.
• If you cannot locate or access the frozen area, call a licensed plumber.

If pipes burst:
• Quickly shut off the water valve.
• Call a licensed plumber.

When to call 911:
• If water gets in or near electrical outlets or panels
• If water threatens a pilot light or power to a water heater or furnace.

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