In light of the snow accumulation that has occurred within the Town of Mammoth Lakes during the last couple of days, the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department reminds residents of several life safety issues.
These include the accumulation of large amounts of snow/ice sitting on roofs, the blockage of vents for heating and hot water appliances, the maintenance needed to safely use propane, and request for residents to keep addresses visible and hydrants available for use.
With the large accumulations of snow, especially wet snow, the roofs are supporting a tremendous load. Roofs built to today’s standards should be able to withstand the loading, but occupants need to determine if the weight of the snow should be dealt with. Some signs of excess loading include exterior/interior doors that do not open or close easily, cracks that occur in sheetrock walling, and bowing in timber members or ceilings/walls. Some buildings have experienced roof collapse without demonstrating any of the aforementioned signs. Safely removing the snow is also an issue. Iif you do not feel you can accomplish the task, hire a professional.
Vents for any fuel powered heating appliances can get blocked by the deep snow on the roof. Homeowners, landlords, and tenants need to make sure that vents are clear so that a buildup of carbon monoxide does not occur. Since carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and mixes well with air, blocked vents allow accumulations of the deadly gas to build up inside structures if not properly vented.
For those homeowners that use propane, the top of the tank needs to be routinely dug out to allow for quick access to the shutoff valve. In addition to making sure that all exterior gas pipes are exposed, downward snow pressure from snow settlement and falling snow and ice from the roof can cause pipe sections to crack resulting in leaks. Unfortunately, if the leak occurs under the snow, the snow keeps the gas contained and a period of time may occur before the leak is detected. In the meantime, the gas will seek openings in the foundation or structure of a building and look for a source of ignition.
Make sure that your address is clearly visible from the street. In times of emergencies, precious time is lost trying to find the proper structu