Heavy Snow Poses Danger For Farmers, Homeowners

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(Host) All the recent snow in our region has created potentially dangerous situations for homeowners and farmers. 

VPR’s Neal Charnoff has more:

(Charnoff) There have been a number of building collapses in the Northeast due to all the snow collecting on roofs. 

Kelly Loftus is with the Vermont Department of Agriculture. Loftus says the best way to avoid a barn collapse is to get the snow off the roof as soon as possible. She says her department offers a number of safety tips. 

(Loftus) "Work to insure an even unloading from both sides at a time, it’s also helpful to work in pairs if possible, to use a safety line if you’re clearing a steep pitch, and to plan an escape route if something goes wrong." 

(Charnoff) Loftus says that anyone with questions should contact the Agency of Agriculture or a snow-removal professional.

The state says homeowners should follow similar precautions to avoid injuries. Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca was hurt over the weekend after he fell from the roof of his house in Westford while clearing snow.

He spent two days in intensive care for a head injury. Vilaseca is expected to make a full recovery.

Another area of concern is home venting systems.

Matt Cota is with the Vermont Fuel Dealer’s Association. He says that when people shovel snow off their roofs, it can pile up in a way that clogs sidewall vents, forcing the heating system to shut down.

In addition to system shutdowns, Cota says there is a more dangerous element to clogged sidewall vents.

(Cota)  "Worst case scenario is that it could cause the release of carbon monoxide, an odorless colorless gas that can be potentially dangerous if it collects in your house."   

(Charnoff) Cota recommends that homeowners locate and clear their sidewall vents. And he also urges people to regularly maintain their home heating systems. 

For VPR news, I’m Neal Charnoff.

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