COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Most who live in the Northeast are familiar with the effects of snow, and what to do when it piles up in small or large amounts. Still, accidents in and around the home can happen.
NEWS10 ABC visited the Cohoes Fire Department for the year’s first big snowfall to ask about their biggest concerns in this weather, and the proactive approach residents can take to prevent accidents.
Snow shoveling safety
“We want to make sure they take their time shoveling, especially with this wet, heavy snow,” said Cohoes Fire Lieutenant Russ Coonradt. “It’s quite a workout.”
The American Heart Association suggests you use a small shovel or snow blower, take breaks, and watch out for heart attack warning signs like chest pain. Call 911 if you experience such symptoms while shoveling.
Clear out hydrants
“For the residents out there, shovel out your fire hydrants anytime it snows,” said Cohoes Firefighter Ryan MacPherson. “It makes it easier for us to make access, do the job we’ve got to do, and get water.”
Heat your home safely
As for the inside of your home, Lt. Coonradt said you should not use the stove or a grill to heat your home, and if you use a wood fireplace, have it inspected yearly before use. He cautioned against the use of heat sources that don’t come with your home, and pointed to the tragic fire in the Bronx that killed 17 people earlier this month. That blaze was apparently started by a malfunctioning electric space heater.
“We understand that there may be times when people feel the need to use those, but it should be a stopgap measure. They want to make sure they’re clear on all sides, they’re not plugged into an extension cord, and that it’s utilized only for a short period of time,” Lt. Coonradt said.
Keep vents clear
Many newer or retrofitted homes have a direct vent furnace or boiler. It’s important to make sure it doesn’t become blocked after snow blowing or shoveling.
“We want to make sure snow doesn’t accumulate at the vent, because then that backs up carbon monoxide into the home and could potentially be deadly,” Lt. Coonradt said.
It’s important to make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working properly, and if it goes off, leave the home and call 911.