Snow Safety Considerations

When facing heavy snow conditions the Town of Maynard suggests reviewing the information below to help keep you, your family and your property safe.


Hydrant, Drains and Sidewalk Clearing

We ask that you do your best to cooperate with neighbors and assist those who are unable remove snow from their sidewalks and driveways when possible.

The Maynard Fire Department sends its thanks to everyone who have been faithfully clearing around hydrants and catch basins this season.

Thank you for your cooperation!


Appliance Ventilation

The Maynard Fire Department recommends that you verify that all appliances that vent to the outside have clear/open exhaust paths.   Some vents are close to the ground and a blocked vent can cause overheating or carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning inside the home/business.  This applies to all fuel-burning appliances including furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, grills, and gas space heaters.

Headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, sleepiness and disorientation are all symptoms of CO poisoning, though a victim may not experience every one.  If anyone in your home is experiencing signs of CO poisoning symptoms, vacate the home immediately and call 9-1-1.  Please make sure your Carbon Monoxide detectors are operating properly (press the test button).


Snow-Laden Roofs

Accumulating wet snow or wet snow coupled with sleet and/or rain can present a threat of roof collapse (as well as aggravate localized basement flooding, particularly when street drains are not shoveled clear).

If not cleared off of roofs, snow can absorb additional sleet and rain, increasing roof loads and adding stress to building structures.

Relatively flat roofs are particularly vulnerable. Additionally roof ice dams can form on any roof, causing water build-up which can lead to interior water damage. To minimize the risk of over-stressing a building roof due to accumulated or drifting snow:

  • Be on the alert for large accumulating snow build-up or snowdrifts on your roofs.
  • If roof snow can be removed with the use of a snow rake (available at most hardware stores), do so. Use caution, as metal snow rakes conduct electricity if they come into contact with a power line.
  • Try to avoid working from ladders, as ladder rungs tend to ice up.  Snow and ice can also collect on boot soles, and metal ladders making the climbing of ladders dangerous in winter months.
  • Flat roofs can be shoveled clear, but only if it is determined that the roof is safe to stand upon. Exercise care when on the roof to avoid potentially dangerous falls.
  • Flat roof drainage systems should be kept clear to minimize the risk of excess roof ponding in the event of subsequent heavy rainfall or melting.
  • Large icicles can form on roof overhangs, but do not necessarily mean ice damming is occurring. Icicles overhanging doorways and walkways can be dangerous as potential falling objects and should be carefully removed.
  • All of the mentioned actions should only be performed by able-bodied adults, as snow can be heavy, and roofs and other surfaces may be slippery. Protective headgear and eye protection is recommended.

For more information on this topic consider visiting our Roof Collapse Prevention page.


Power Failures

Wet snow can transition to sleet and freezing rain, leading to possible ice buildup on trees and powerlines.  This has the potential to cause power outages. The weight of a one-half inch build-up can be enough to snap tree limbs, causing them to fall and bring down power lines disrupting electrical service.

  • The use of candles is strongly discouraged.
  • Ensure you have a well-stocked Emergency Supply Kit in case you lose power for an extended period.  It should include a flashlight, portable radio, extra batteries, non-perishable food, bottled water, first aid kit, prescription drugs, etc.).
  • If utilizing an emergency generator, read, understand and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Always operate emergency generators outdoors and away from any open window.  Make sure your generator is properly installed and grounded as you may be liable for damage or injury to other people and property that may result from improperly installed or operated equipment.
  • Ensure that your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors are working correctly and have fresh batteries.
  • Check your outside fuel and dryer exhaust vents, making sure that they are not obstructed by snow or ice. Never use cooking equipment intended for outside use indoors as a heat source or cooking device. Never use your oven for heat.
  • Space heaters need space, so use them in a 3-foot circle of safety, free of anything that catch fire. Space heaters are not designed to replace your central heating system, they are only designed to provide a little extra heat on a temporary basis. So be sure to turn them off when you leave room or go to bed at night.
  • If you lose your heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets.
  • Let water drip a trickle to prevent pipes from freezing and open cupboards under sinks to let heat circulate around the pipes.
  • If pipes freeze, remove insulation, completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they are most exposed to the cold.
  • Be extra cautious if you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm.  Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by snowdrifts, trees or debris, and could be live.  Never attempt to touch or move downed lines.  Treat a downed wire as a live wire.
  • Questions or issues should be directed to Mass 2-1-1.
  • Be a Good Neighbor and check on the elderly or infirm who live around you.

Additional Resources