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Winter’s Still Going – Keep these tips in mind

How to prevent winter home safety hazards

Burlington Post
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:

Clear away snow from fire hydrants

• 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.

Ensure house numbers are visible

• 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.

Remove snow buildup from exterior exits

• Clear snow away from exterior doors and stairways to allow for a quick and safe emergency exit.

Clear snow from furnace and water heater vents

• 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.

Remove ice and snow from gas and electric meters

• Prevent snow and ice from gathering on outside meters to provide access for emergency and utility workers.

Keep fire hose connections visible and accessible

• 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.

Be a good neighbour

• 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:

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Source: Burlington Fire Department