As snow, sleet and freezing rain fall over our region, we should remember to keep emergency exits intact and pay attention to the weight of the roof.
For safety reasons, we should keep emergency exits always clear to facilitate the work of first aiders and allow for rapid evacuation in an emergency. Basement windows, for example, are part of the exit routes so we can’t obstruct them.
Regarding roofs, the Régie du bâtiment du Québec reminds that “roofs can support the snow loads of Quebec winters, but when accumulations are exceptional, be vigilant.” The recommendations are:
- remove snow on the property to avoid the risk of collapse
- take measures to ensure the safety of people travelling near the building
- pay attention to the distribution of snow loads on vaulted or rounded roofs
- hire well equipped and experienced companies to remove the snow
The Société d’habitation du Québec points out that “clearing snow from a roof is a delicate job”. They recommend using the services of well equipped and experienced professionals. Those who wish to embark on the adventure themselves must be cautious. The process should start from the ground, using a squeegee with a telescopic handle. If it becomes necessary to climb on the roof, they should use an anchored harness, such as on the chimney. Workers should sink the ladder deep into the snow to prevent it from slipping, which will also reduce the impact if a fall occurs. Lastly, it is important to keep in mind it is a matter of removing an overload, not of cleaning up. It is, therefore, necessary to leave a layer of snow 10 to 15 cm thick, to avoid damaging the roof covering.