The following reminders concerning snow and roof safety were issued to the public by Fairfax County officials late today:
1. Evacuate if you notice any warning signs of roof distress.
2. Do not attempt to clear the snow off a roof; do clear roof downspouts and drains.
3. Call 911 if the roof has collapsed.
4. The Fairfax County Snow and Roof Safety web page offers important safety measures for flat roofs. www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news/
Here are some warning signs that a roof may be giving way under the weight of snow:
1. A sagging ceiling beneath a flat roof
2. New cracks on the ceiling drywall or plaster
3. Popping, cracking or creaking sounds
4. Doors and/or windows that can no longer be opened or closed.
Fire and related safety tips to follow in the event power goes out in your home/business incude:
1. If the power goes out, turn off or unplug all appliances. When the electricity goes back on, power surges can start fires. This is especially important if computers, TVs and entertainment systems are not plugged into surge protectors.
2. If the power is out, use flashlights, not candles. Candles can start fires.
3. Don’t use gas or charcoal grills, propane heaters and stoves, kerosene space heaters or generators indoors because they can be fatal. Not only can these items start fires, but also they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning when used inside.
4. Keep electric space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything flammable.
5. If you are using a car to warm up, be sure the tail pipe is clear or snow or ice. If you are warming up a car in a garage, make sure the garage door is open to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.
6. Discard fireplace ashes safety by putting them in a metal container away from the house. Ashes can stay hot for several days after a fire.
7. Check the batteries in smoke alarms to make sure they are working. Have extra batteries on hand for a portable radio and flashlights.
8. Make sure all exits are snow free in case it is necessary to evacuate a building in a fire.
9. Watch out for downed power lines. Do not touch the wires or anything that the wires are touching. Contact your local utility to report the situation.