By Tony Bavota – Burlington Fire Department
We’ve seen an exceptional amount of snowfall this winter. And while it can be challenging to stay on top of snow removal, having unrestricted access to homes and workplaces is vital for public safety — particularly in the event of an emergency.
A few things to keep in mind as you head outdoors to tackle the snow:
• Ensure the hydrant is clearly visible for approaching emergency vehicles and maintain a one-metre clearance for firefighter access. Consider sharing the responsibility of clearing the hydrant with neighbours.
• Blowing snow can cover numbers displayed on mailboxes, home exteriors and at the end of driveways. During a snowstorm or at night it may be more difficult for emergency responders to find a house number from the roadway. Clear away any snow buildup to ensure your home address is always visible.
• Clear snow away from exterior doors and stairways to allow for a quick and safe emergency exit.
• High and medium-efficiency furnaces and water heaters have vents that exit the building through exterior walls rather than through the roof. Keep vents clear as carbon monoxide (CO) can build up inside your home if vents are blocked. Having properly working CO alarms in your home can provide an early warning before this gas reaches potentially dangerous levels.
• Prevent snow and ice from gathering on outside meters to provide access for emergency and utility workers.
• Large buildings that are equipped with automatic sprinklers or internal hoses have connections on the outside of the building. The Ontario Fire Code requires that these connections are clearly visible and accessible to emergency staff at all times.
• Shoveling snow can be a difficult task for some so I encourage residents to do their part by checking in with elderly or disabled neighbours to lend a hand. There are snow-clearing programs available to seniors and persons with limited abilities in Burlington. More information about snow control can be found on the city’s website: www.burlington.ca/snow.
Visit us online at www.burlington.ca/fire for fire safety information.
Source: Burlington Fire Department