Winter safety tips from Mammoth Lakes Fire Department

Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District press release

In light of the snow and rain accumulation that has occurred within the Town of Mammoth Lakes during the last week, the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department wishes to remind residents of several life safety items.

These include the accumulation of large amounts of snow/ice sitting on roofs, the blocking of vents by snow accumulations, maintaining clear emergency egress doors and windows, the maintenance needed to safely use propane in snow country, and request for residents in town to keep hydrants available for use.

With the large accumulations of snow, especially very wet snow (“Pineapple Express” or as its being called “Atmospheric River”), the roofs in our community are supporting a tremendous load. Also, many exhaust vents are getting covered by the accumulating snow.

Some signs of excess loading include interior doors/windows that do not open or close easily, cracks that occur in sheetrock walling, and bowing in timber members in ceilings/walls. Some buildings have experienced roof collapse without demonstrating any of the aforementioned signs. Occupants need to determine if the weight of the snow that is resting on their roofs should be dealt with.

Safely removing the snow is also an issue and if you do not feel that you can accomplish the task, it is highly recommended that a professional be sought to perform the work. Remember that falling from roofs is a very frequent occurrence and can result in serious injuries.

When temperatures increase, roofs are going to experience sliding or icicle buildup. Tremendous amounts of weight can come cascading off a roof
without any warning. Avoid areas of roof deposition and falling icicles when walking and carefully choose your parking spots.

With the increasing snowbanks around town, be very careful with where children play, as the snow slides off the steep banks and snow removal equipment will be working the streets and may not see children playing on the banks. Also, intersections are becoming difficult to see approaching vehicles and pedestrians, please proceed with caution at each intersection.

Fire Code requires that all bedrooms have two means of exiting. Traditionally, this is accomplished by way of an access door and window. During the winter, first floor windows tend to become covered by snow and require attention. Resist the urge to cover up lower level windows with plywood and keep these exits open by digging them out.

If you own a complex or live in a rental or commercial unit, the owner is responsible to keep these exits open. Bring this issue to the attention of your landlord, manager, or owner. The Fire Department will also be looking for infractions of this code violation.

For those homeowners that use propane, keep the top of the tank dug out to allow for quick access to the shutoff valve. Users of propane appliances need to make sure that vents are able to function properly and not blocked by snow. If an occupant of the building should smell propane, immediately evacuate the structure and call 911 for assistance. ·

Lastly, there are fire hydrants located throughout town that are used by the fire department in the event of a fire. As we get to this time of the year, many of the hydrants get buried under the snow. The fire department is requesting interested individuals to routinely shovel out the hydrant nearest to their home. If maintained frequently, the amount of work is minimal and may even be shared by several neighbors.

Thank you for your interest in these topics. If you would like any additional information on these topics or anything else pertaining to the Fire Department, please feel free to contact the Fire Station at any time at 934-2300.

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