Fire chiefs warn of weather related hazards

by Christian Mower on February 20, 2014

New Hampshire’s fire marshal and fire chiefs in Carroll County are warning residents and businesses about urgent weather related hazards caused by recent heavy buildups of snow.

Fire Marshal Bill Degnan says with rain and freezing rain in the forecast, there is a greater urgency to clear roofs of accumulated ice and snow. He says a roof can collapse with little or no warning – and flat roofs aren’t the only ones susceptible to collapse.

He recommends hiring a professional to clear your roof with a roof rake and says it’s important to stay away from electrical lines and oil and gas service points while clearing a roof.

Degnan says warning signs that could indicate your roof is in danger of collapsing include creaking or popping sounds, severe or new roof leaks, doors that pop open and doors or windows that are hard to open.

Conway Fire Chief Steve Solomon says in 2008, his firefighters responded to more than a dozen roof or structural collapses caused by heavy snow buildup.

If you think your roof is in danger of collapsing, you should immediately evacuate the building and call your local fire department or building official.

Solomon says his firefighters have also recently responded to a number of calls related to carbon monoxide. He recommends you check heating appliance vent exhaust systems to ensure they are properly vented to the outside and not blocked or covered by snow or ice.

Wolfeboro Fire-Rescue Chief Butch Morrill asks residents to clear a path to all doors of their home to provide extra escape routes in case of an emergency, make sure their driveways are clear to allow emergency vehicles to enter and to display correct street numbers so their house can be quickly and clearly identified by responders.