Timothy J. Bradshaw, Fire Chief
50 School St.
Taunton, MA 02780
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018
Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Taunton Fire Department Shares Ice Dam and Snow Removal Safety Tips for Residents
TAUNTON– In the wake of last week’s blizzard and with warmer temperatures expected over the next several days, Chief Timothy Bradshaw would like to advise Taunton residents on how they can safely handle snow removal from roofs and avoid damage from ice dams.
With some areas experiencing over a foot of snow, it is important for property owners, managers and tenants to have snow and ice cleared from their roofs before any future rain or snowfall.
While removing snow, residents should be cognizant of the dangers that come with heavy snow loads and the importance of recognizing signs of structural weakness. Flat and low pitched roofs are at the highest risk of buckling under heavy snow and ice accumulations, however many risks posed by heavy snowfall on roofs can be mitigated by safely removing the snow.
With temperatures expected to reach around 50 degrees by the end of this week, residents should also be wary of snow that has accumulated around gutters, as it could contribute to ice dams and damage from water leaking into walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.
“We encourage all of our residents to follow these safety tips as they clean up from last week’s blizzard,” Chief Bradshaw said. “We strongly advise hiring professional snow removers, if possible, to avoid the dangers of dealing with ice and heavy snow on roofs.”
The following safety tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Department of Fire Services (DFS) and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) outline how to safely remove snow from roofs, recognize structural damage and other important safety information.
How to Remove Snow From Roofs
- Consider hiring snow removal professionals. The combination of height and ice can make removing snow from roofs dangerous. If you decide to perform the task yourself, make sure you have someone with you to assist.
- Use a snow rake to remove snow from pitched roofs and start from the edge.
- Try to shave the snow down 2 or 3 inches on the roof instead of scraping the roof clean which could damage shingles or other roof covering.
- Keep all ladders, roof rakes and shovels away from utility wires.
- Plastic shovels are usually the best as metal tools may cause damage to your roof.
- Shovel snow from flat roofs by throwing the snow over the side and away from the building.
- Remove large icicles carefully if they’re hanging over doors and walkways. Consider knocking down icicles through windows using a broomstick.
- Protect gas and electric meters and piping from falling snow, icicles and melting water.
- Keep gutters and drains clean, free of ice and snow and keep downspouts clean at ground level
- Do not add your weight or the weight of equipment to the roof.
- Do not use a ladder, as ice tends to build up on both the rungs of the ladder and the soles of your boots.
- Do not use blow torches, open-flame, electric heating devices, or heat guns to remove snow and ice.
- Do not try to remove ice or icicles from utility wires or meters. Call your utility company for assistance.
How to Recognize Problems with Roofs
- Sagging roofs
- Severe roof leaks
- Cracked or split wood members
- Bends or ripples in supports
- Cracks in walls or masonry
- Sheared off screws from steel frames
- Sprinkler heads that have dropped down below ceiling tiles
- Doors that pop open
- Doors or windows that are difficult to open
- Bowed utility pipes or conduit attached at ceiling
- Creaking, cracking or popping sounds