After the Storm: Threats of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Roof Damage
What you need to know about clearing snow from your home.
The blizzard has passed but its effects and dangers will remain for a few days.
Among the biggest of home dangers over the next few days are the possibilities of carbon monoxide poisoning and roof damage caused by heavy snow.
The mayor issued a warning Saturday urging residents to use caution and be safe when clearing their driveways and homes. In particular, residents need to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by blocked vents and other hazards. There have already been reports of carbon monoxide poisoning around the city, including a report on River Street of high levels of carbon monoxide in a home.
To protect yourself, you need to:
- Remove snow around any external vents.
- Avoid using generators indoors or in garages.
- Not grill inside or use your oven for heating.
- Not start your car until you have cleared the tailpipe and the area around the muffler/exhaust system.
- Not run your car in the garage, and roll down the windows while warming a parked car.
The Boston Globe reported that two people died from carbon monoxide poisoning and two others were injured. "My heart goes out to the family who lost a loved one today... We are doing all we can to ensure the loss of life stops here, and ask everyone in our city to help us in that pursuit," Mayor Thomas Menino said in a press release.
To alert Bostonians of the very real threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, the city is sending 67,000 Boston Public Schools families and staff a letter in English and Spanish, Boston Police are using bull horns in neighborhoods, and the city is using social media channels to amplify the message.
Another threat people face after a storm is the possibilty that snow will cave in their home's roof. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) warns that fluffy snow piled high on roofs can act as a sponge, absorbing rain and adding additional stress to structures.
To minimize the risk of over-stressing a building roof due to accumulated or drifting snow, see MEMA's advice.