Winter storms create hazardous conditions for Truckee/Tahoe homeowners |

Winter storms create hazardous conditions for Truckee/Tahoe homeowners

LAKE TAHOE andamp;#8212; Large amounts of snow accumulation in the Lake Tahoe Basin has spurred North Shore fire officials to warn residents about potential hazards to homes due to extreme winter conditions.Dave Zaski, public information officer for the North Tahoe Fire Protection District andamp;#8212; which covers the California portion of the North Shore andamp;#8212; said heavy snow accumulations present dangers to homes, including the possibility of severe roof damage, and in extreme cases, collapse.He cautioned residents to make sure their ventilation pipes and chimneys are free of accumulation before use.andamp;#8220;If residents encounter a heavy smell of gas, they should evacuate immediately and call 911,andamp;#8221; Zaski said. Tia Rancourt, public information officer for the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District andamp;#8212; which covers the Nevada portion of the North Shore andamp;#8212; issued a press release with similar warnings.Rancourt further recommended residents use extreme caution when undertaking snow removal efforts from roofs and in and around ventilation devices. andamp;#8220;If it is possible to remove snow from your roof from the ground level, that is most likely going to be the safest option,andamp;#8221; she said. andamp;#8220;Always have a partner, and if it is necessary to remove snow while on the roof level, wear appropriate boots or shoes with substantial traction/tread. andamp;#8220;Also consider using a rope or harness system and ask your partner to watch for potentially unsafe situations,andamp;#8221; she continued. andamp;#8220;For tall and/or steep pitched structures that require more technical removal, please contact a licensed and insured snow removal professional.andamp;#8221; Rancourt encouraged residents to anticipate the potential for heavy snow accumulation or snow slides off roofs to compromise chimney integrity, creating a potentially lethal situation. andamp;#8220;Excessive snow accumulation around or over your chimney can affect the draft and cause smoke or carbon monoxide to back up into your house,andamp;#8221; she said. Rancourt advocated for regular chimney maintenance and inspection to prevent excessive creosote build up on the chimney walls and flue, which can potentially cause a chimney fire.Finally, Rancourt encouraged residents to know the locations of natural gas and/or electricity meters and where the shut-off valves are positioned.andamp;#8220;Check that snow does not cover these meters/shut-off valves in the event they need to be quickly accessed,andamp;#8221; she said.

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