City of Alexandria, VA
Page updated Jan 13 2011 2:33 p.m.
Roof Safety During Winter Weather
Snow and cold temperatures usually force people indoors to keep warm, but the Alexandria Office of Building and Fire Code Administration (OBFCA) reminds residents to take extra precautions to protect their home’s safety during winter storms.
Building codes address the amount of snow a roof should be designed to handle, depending on snow fall averages. Most newer homes are built to these codes, but older homes, especially those with flat roofs, may have been built under different codes and therefore present a greater risk of roof collapse.
Roofs can fail for several reasons that can include:
Prior to a roof collapse, buildings generally exhibit signs that the roof is in distress and action should be taken by a qualified professional to mitigate a roof collapse. The following are some of the symptoms that have been reported prior to roof failure:
Hire a roofing expert to remove snow and ice from roofs and gutters; do not climb a snow-covered roof yourself.
Heating and dryer vents should also be cleared of snow to prevent possible carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not run generators in the home, garage, other enclosed spaces, or near exterior wall openings (including soffit roof vents) as carbon monoxide can rise to dangerous, if not fatal levels.
Some of the above information provided by Zurich Services Corporation.