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MEMA Urges People to Safely Clear Roofs, Storm Drains


FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (WGGB) — Now that the storm has passed and some possible rain on the way, the Mass. Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is warning that folks should to safely clear their roofs to try and prevent damage.

MEMA Director Kurt Scwartz says, “With the threat of approaching rain, dry, fluffy snow piled on roofs can act as a sponge, absorbing any additional sleet and rain, adding weight and stress to structures if not cleared.”

Schwartz adds that “Flat, commercial roofs are most susceptible if they are not draining properly.”

Also with the forecasted rain, MEMA is asking that residents clear away storm drains near them to help minimize any flooding from storm run-off.

Another concern is over ice dams which can form with water build-up and lead to more damage. Clearing the roof can help alleviate some of that stress on the roof.

MEMA offers these safety tips:

  • If roof snow can be removed, from the ground, with the use of a snow rake (available at most hardware stores), do so. Use caution, as metal snow rakes conduct electricity if they come into contact with a power line.
  • Try to avoid working from ladders, as ladder rungs tend to ice up. Snow and ice collect on boot soles, and metal ladders.
  • Flat roofs can be shoveled clear, but only if it is determined that the roof is safe to stand upon. Exercise care when on the roof to avoid potentially dangerous falls.
  • Flat roof drainage systems should be kept clear to minimize the risk of excess roof ponding in the event of subsequent heavy rainfall or melting.
  • Large icicles can form on roof overhangs, but do not necessarily mean ice damming is occurring. Icicles overhanging doorways and walkways can be dangerous and should be carefully removed.
  • All of the mentioned actions should only be performed by able-bodied adults, as the snow is heavy, and roofs and other surfaces may be slippery. Protective headgear and eye protection is recommended.
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