Chief’s Corner – Are you ready for winter?

Chief Scott Lindgren / Tahoe Douglas Fire

ZEPHRY COVE, Nev. – Are you ready for winter? After last year’s winter, here are a couple of items you can add to your annual check list, to help your local fire department keep your community safe.

As winter approaches, people often neglect to plan for roof snow loading and roof collapses, one of the most serious winter threats. Even a partial roof collapse can deliver devastating property damage and possibly loss of life.

When the weight of accumulated snow and ice exceeds the load capacity of the roof structure, the roof will collapse. Rain falling on accumulated snow is especially dangerous, because it can quickly triple the weight of the snow. Planning, preparation and prompt action to remove accumulated snow will help minimize the risk of snow loading and roof collapse. Make sure to inspect the roof structure for damage or deterioration, and repair or reinforce it as needed. Some telltale signs are sagging ceiling tiles, cracks in drywall or masonry, popping or creaking noises, doors or windows that no longer, or are having trouble, opening or closing. Remember to remove snow in layers uniformly across the roof to prevent unbalanced loads, which might cause a collapse. Regularly monitor snow depth on the roof, paying particular attention to areas where snow tends to drift: in roof valleys, in low roof sections adjacent to higher sections or the downwind side of pitched roofs. It is also important to be aware of snow loading in trees around your home. If you feel that you may have an unsafe condition with the trees being over loaded and leaning over your home, please reach out to your local fire department, which is always happy to come out and assess the potential situation.

The other big ticket item people tend to forget about are fire hydrants. Did you know that we currently have over 800 fire hydrants in our district? When a fire hydrant gets covered in snow, time spent having to dig out a hydrant, during an active fire can add critical additional time that might mean the difference in a home, pet or even a human life being saved. How can you help keep your home and family safe? Adopt-A-Hydrant. After clearing the snow from your driveway, please take a few minutes to also clear the snow that’s blocking the closest hydrant to your home. Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District is asking for YOUR help to protect YOUR home and neighborhood. If you adopt, we ask that you keep your hydrant VISIBLE and ACCESSIBLE and report damage or leakage.

Please DO NOT repair, paint, personalize, or change the appearance of the hydrant in any way. Hydrant cap colors provide critical available water flow information to firefighters.

Remember, we are all in this together.

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