Virginians Should Use Extreme Care using Chainsaws and Removing Snow from Flat Roofs

Accidents while using chainsaws during storm cleanup are frequent and often lead to severe injuries. Most accidents are caused by contact with the moving chain, and most deaths happen when operators are struck by a falling limb or tree during the cutting process. Here are tips for using chainsaws safely during cleanup from this week’s snowstorm.

Chainsaw operators must wear/use protective equipment, including:

•Hard hat
•Eye protection (safety glasses or goggles)
•Hearing protection
•Leather work gloves
•Cut-resistant leg wear (chaps, leggings, pants) with two-inch boot overlap
•Sturdy boots, preferably steel-toed
•Make sure the chain brake is on whenstarting the saw:
•Both hands are not on the saw, or
•Taking more than two steps

Also, people across Virginia should be aware of the weight loads that heavy snow may be creating, especially on flat roofs.

Take the following precautions to protect life and property*:
•Watch for falling snow and ice from roofs.
•Don’t put untrained individuals on roofs to clear snow. Falls from roofs and possible exposure to electrical wires while on the roof are serious hazards.
•Inspect roofs for leaks or structural deficiencies that may develop during the storm.
•Make certain gutters, drains and downspouts are clear of ice and debris.
•Clear snow and ice away from exhaust vents that go through exterior walls.
•Clear decks of snow to reduce stress on them.

*Note: This information was gleaned from several sources, including the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

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Here are some Safety Tips to help you

• Remove snow and ice from your vehicle before driving. Snow or ice flying off your vehicle can cause an accident.
• Check road conditions before leaving home by calling 511 or logging onto www.511Virginia.org.
• When traveling, slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination.
• Watch for icy conditions on bridges, overpasses and shady areas.
• Do not pass snow removal equipment.
• When shoveling, shovel to the right as you face the road. Leave the last few feet at the curb until the street is plowed because the truck will push some snow back.
• Always run generators outside in well-ventilated areas. Never use a portable generator in any enclosed or partially enclosed space. Follow manufacturer’s instructions exactly.
• Accidents while using chainsaws during storm cleanup are frequent and often lead to severe injuries. Proper safety measures and protective equipment should be used at all times. Go to www.dof.virginia.gov for additional information and safety tips.
• People should be aware of the weight loads that heavy snow may be creating, especially on flat roofs. *
• Watch for falling snow and ice from roofs.
• Don’t put untrained individuals on roofs to clear snow. Falls from roofs and possible exposure to electrical wires while on the roof are serious hazards.
• Inspect roofs for leaks or structural deficiencies that may have developed during the storm.
• Make certain gutters, drains and downspouts are clear of ice and debris.
• Clear snow and ice away from exhaust vents that go through exterior walls.
• Clear decks of snow to reduce stress on them.
• Clear areas around downspouts so that water from melting snow has a path to flow away from the house or building.
• Have a professional licensed contractor remove all snow immediately from every roof surface, including roof overhangs and covered porches.
• Remove snow from side walls to prevent high snow mounds from pushing them in.
• Temporarily shore up and brace dipping or sagging roofs or walls.
• Improper operation of doors or windows, deflection of ceiling finishes or exposed beams, roof leaks or sprinkler heads moved from their normal positions could be signs of roof failure.

He loves His Job Keeping Virginia Moving! Thanks VaDOT

Virginia Office of Public Safety monitor snow storm response

Snow Accumulation Totals Across VIrginia

This map from VDEM and the National Weather Service shows up to 27.7 inches of snow accumulation in communities across the Commonwealth, from Feb. 12-13.

VDOT News Release - Feb. 14, 2014

ICY ROAD CONDITIONS ACROSS MUCH OF VIRGINIA
Motorists urged to limit travel this morning and check 511 before driving

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews continue to make significant progress clearing roads of ice and snow over much of the state. Interstates and heavily traveled primary roads are mostly in minor condition, with some ice and snow patches. Motorists should watch for refreezing, causing slick driving conditions this morning.

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Portrait of a VDOT Plow Operator

News Release - State Agencies Respond to Ongoing Winter Storm

Virginians urged to stay home due to hazardous road conditions

RICHMOND, Va. – During the latest winter storm to affect the Commonwealth, the Virginia Emergency Operations Center, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state agencies continue to assist Virginians by processing requests from local governments and matching them with the appropriate state agencies and utilities for response.

“This major winter storm has brought six to 18 inches of wet snow across Virginia, and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Transportation and many other agencies and private sector partners are doing great work to continue to respond and make sure people are safe” said Governor McAuliffe. “We expect this storm to continue to bring a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain throughout the evening, and ask we Virginians to keep themselves safe and assist our storm responders by refraining from any unnecessary travel. Many of our roads remain difficult to pass as snow and ice continue to fall, and refraining from traveling helps speed up road clearing operations.”

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Snow plows are sliding down the hills in Radford - so they are using construction plows

Snow plows are sliding down the hills in Radford - so they are using construction plows

VDOT: Staunton District Snow Feb 13, 2014

VaDOT keeping us safe in Verona area, Augusta Co.

Virginia Department of Health - News Release

Contact: Maribeth Brewster, 804-652-5997 maribeth.brewster@vdh.virginia.gov

Virginians Urged To Take Precautions After Winter Storm

(Richmond, Va.)—The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) encourages everyone to protect themselves against serious health problems that can result from prolonged exposure to the cold and overexertion. “Whether digging out from the wet, heavy snow brought by the recent winter storm or sledding and playing in it,” said Interim State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, “everyone should take precautions to stay healthy and safe.” To lower your risk:

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Route 7 Westbound into Leesburg.  Looking good VADOTNOVA

Route 7 Westbound into Leesburg. Looking good VADOTNOVA

Updates on the Snow Storm

• The winter storm brought 6 to 18 inches of wet snow overnight across most of the state. A mixture of sleet and freezing rain will continue through this afternoon. Be alert to changing conditions.
• Travel conditions are still hazardous. Heavy snow, gusty winds and potential ice accumulations of up to a quarter of an inch are being reported. Travel should be postponed so VDOT and contractor crews can clear the roads.
• While roads are open throughout the Commonwealth, more than 1,000 are in moderate to severe condition, which means they are mostly or partially covered with snow and/or ice. VDOT is focusing on clearing interstates and primary roads first.
• One fatality has been confirmed in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiners Central Region as the result of a motor vehicle crash.
• Temperatures are forecast to stay below freezing until Friday.
• 5,000 customers are without power statewide.

The town of Orange, VA woke up to this… photo courtesy of John Harkness

The town of Orange, VA woke up to this… photo courtesy of John Harkness