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Staying Safe in the Snow

Up on the roof

Watching several feet of snow fall in a couple of days is bound to make you worry about the strength of your roof. There’s no hard-and-fast rule for knowing how much is too much, because it depends on the age, slope and construction of your roof.

But a good rule to follow, according to Travelers Insurance, is that if more than a foot of snow has accumulated, it’s best to have it removed. Here, from Travelers, are some tips for clearing snow from your roof:

• If you venture out on the roof, be careful not to damage it.

• It may be possible to remove snow from the ground using a roof rake.

• If you hire a contractor to venture out on the roof, make sure they are qualified, insured and bonded.

Staying warm, staying safe

Here are home-heating safety tips from National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp.:

Never use a gas oven or burners to heat your home.

• Natural gas furnaces have a vent pipe that sends exhaust through a chimney or pipe. Be careful that those vents are never blocked with snow or other debris. This can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Install at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home.

• Never run a gasoline engine or generator in an enclosed space.

• If you smell gas, leave quickly and contact National Fuel at 1-800-444-3130.

Snowblower safety

• Never wear loose pants, jackets or other clothing that can get tangled in the machine, suggests Consumer Reports magazine.

 Before the snow gets too deep, remove doormats, sleds, wires and anything else that might get caught in the snowblower.

Safe driving

On a day like Tuesday, it’s safer just to stay home if that’s an option. If not, here’s some safety advice from Erie-based Erie Insurance:

• Keep your gas tank full and your cell phone charged.

• Use your headlights when your windshield wipers are running.

• Let someone know where you’re going to be, your travel route and estimated time of arrival.

• Equip your car with a travel kit that includes: shovel, sand, tow chain, jumper cable, ice scraper, blankets, high-calorie food, warm clothes, compass and map, cell phone and charger.

Personal safety

Finally, Erie Insurance suggests looking after yourself and your neighbors by taking frequent breaks when you’re shoveling snow and by helping neighbors who might have special needs.


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