Saturday, February 13, 2010

NEWS ADVISORY - Winter Safety Tips

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service reminds residents of the dangers present with snow piles. With the recent record-breaking snow storms, roadside, driveway and cul-de-sac snow piles are getting bigger, but should remain off limits to children.

Children like to dig tunnels or build forts in piles of snow created by snow plows, but children risk becoming trapped by collapsing snow forts. Unstable walls and tunnels may collapse, trapping and burying a child inside. The weight of the snow collapsing on top of a child can quickly hinder their breathing, making it difficult to call for help and virtually eliminating their chances of self-rescue. The best place for children to play is under close adult supervision.

Additionally, Fire Chief Richard Bowers is asking residents to continue to clear snow from fire hydrants. The record-breaking snow accumulation combined with the after-effects of plowing roads and parking lots have left many fire hydrants partially or completely buried in snow. By keeping fire hydrants clear of snow, the public can help firefighters easily locate them and access water quickly, preserving valuable time to potentially save lives and structures.

If you have a hydrant on or near your property, please take a few minutes to clear away the snow. If you cannot clear the hydrant, please ask a neighbor or someone else who can do it for you. Remember, quick access to fire hydrants benefits everyone. Other safety reminders:

• Pedestrians should wear brightly colored clothing so drivers can see you, especially in times of poor visibility, and use reflective clothing or stickers for maximum visibility.

• Never go out on frozen ponds, lakes or creeks. It's impossible to judge the strength of ice by its appearance, thickness, daily temperature, or snow cover alone. Ice strength is also dependent on water depth under the ice, the size of the water and water chemistry, currents and distribution of the load on the ice. The only safe ice is at the skating arena.

• Ensure your house numbers are visible and can be easily seen. Do this at night time as well.

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