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Snow on roofs is big concern this week

A significant amount of heavy, wet snow has fallen in Vermont over the past week and forecasts are calling for more in the next couple of days, and there could be even more on the horizon over the next week. These conditions could lead to barn roof collapses, and in fact, a handful have already been reported due to the snow that has already fallen; primarily in the city of Montpelier where 3 damaged buildings have been reported over the past week. Vermont Emergency Management, the Division of Fire Safety, and local fire departments would like to remind homeowners to be aware of snow loads on the roofs of their homes. The first storm last week made for a thin but heavy layer of ice on many roofs, Vermont fire expert Gesualdo Schneider said. Now we have snow on top of it, so places will have a heavy load that doesnt necessarily look threatening. If you have a significant concern about an impending collapse, you can call the Vermont Division of Fire Safety at (800) 640-2106, call a professional to inspect your roof, or you can keep an eye and ear out for some telltale signs. Strange noises, cracking, or visible movement of rafters should be signs that your roof is headed for a collapse, Mike Greenia of Fire Safety said, but those signs wont necessarily be there before a collapse. Homeowners, businesses, and those who own barns are encouraged to remove snow from roofs that could be in danger of collapse, if it can be done so safely and without risk of injury. Special attention should be paid to the height of your roof and the possibility of injury in a fall. Those who are not able to safely clear their roofs may choose to call a professional to do the work for them. Residents should also be aware of the health hazards of moving such heavy snow. Excessive snow removal can cause a range of health problems, from back injuries to heart attack, if not done in moderation. Vermonters should not over exert themselves, and take frequent breaks from shoveling. Vermonters who are able to help elderly neighbors and others who need assistance in removing snow are encouraged to do so.

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