After a Winter Storm

In view of the recent snowstorm, RJ Home Inspection Service would like to provide these helpful safety tips from The Disaster Handbook.

After a Winter Storm

General Advice

Always use caution when entering a building damaged by high winds and/or snow. Look out for broken glass.

Use flashlights—not lanterns, candles, or matches—to check buildings containing natural gas, propane, or gasoline.

Report downed power lines and broken gas lines immediately.

After blizzards, heavy snows, or extreme cold, check to see that no physical damage has occurred and that water pipes are functioning. If there are no other problems, wait for streets and roads to be opened before you attempt to drive anywhere.

Check on neighbors, especially any who might need help.

Beware of overexertion and exhaustion. Shoveling snow in extreme cold causes many heart attacks. Set your priorities and pace yourself after any disaster that leaves you with a mess to clean up. The natural tendency is to do too much too soon.

Shoveling Snow

If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. Also remember to take frequent breaks. The correct way to shovel snow is:

  1. Bend the knees instead of the waist. Lift with the leg muscles, not the back.
  2. Grip the shovel with one hand low, near the blade, to get better leverage. Keep the shovel close to the body to avoid reaching.
  3. Do not overreach. Move the feet along as you move to keep from bending the waist too much or leaning over too far.
  4. Move your feet as you turn to throw the snow, to reduce the torsion on the back, which can pinch spinal nerves.
  5. Limit shoveling to 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Repetitive motion tires the back muscles faster. Take breaks to stand up straight or do backbends to ease the back muscles.

Cutting in Cold Weather

After a winter storm, some people may decide to use a chainsaw to cut dangling tree branches or to divide large fallen branches into smaller sections. Unfortunately, chainsaw accidents also increase at this time, particularly among novice users. Be absolutely sure to thoroughly read the operator’s manual supplied with your chain saw.

Cutting in cold conditions, in snow, and in frozen wood can cause rapid wear and possible breakage of the saw chain. Following the steps below to keep cold-weather wear to a minimum.

  1. OIL—Use a lighter weight of bar-chain oil, or dilute bar-chain oil 25 percent with clean kerosene or diesel oil. Use twice as much of this diluted oil during operation, and be certain your chain is receiving oil from the saw.
  2. TENSION—Keep your chain correctly tensioned. Check and adjust often.
  3. CUTTERS—Keep cutters sharp. Touch up every hour, or more often if needed. Do not force dull chain to cut!
  4. DEPTH GAUGES—The bite of cutters is regulated by the height of the leading portion of each cutter, commonly known as the depth gauge. Check and adjust your cutter’s depth gauges at every sharpening.
  5. BAR—Keep the bar groove clean and oil holes open. Turn symmetrical bars over to equalize rail wear.
  6. DRIVE SPROCKET—Replace the sprockets after every two chains, or sooner if the wear is evident.

Snow Thrower Safety

Here are some important recommendations from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute on the use of snow throwers:

Read your owner’s manual thoroughly and understand all of the recommended safety procedures before turning on your snow thrower.

Never allow children to operate equipment.

Keep the operation clear of all people and pets.

The snow can sometimes hide objects that might clog the chute, or otherwise cause damage. You should clear the area of doormats, sleds, boards, wires, and other debris.

Be careful never to throw snow towards people or cars, and never allow anyone in front of your snow thrower.

If you have to repair your machine, remove an object, or unclog built up snow from the auger blades or chute, always turn the snow thrower off and wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop. Disconnect the spark plug wire, or for electrics, disconnect the cord.

Never put your hands inside the auger or chute—use a stick to unclog the snow thrower.

Wear safety glasses, and avoid any loose-fitting clothing that could get caught in moving parts. Be careful of long hair.

Do not clear snow across the face of slopes. Use extreme caution when changing direction on slopes. Do not attempt to clear steep slopes.

Handle gas carefully. Fill up before you start, while the engine is cold. Never smoke around gasoline.

Source: The Disaster Handbook 1998 National Edition Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida

Please contact RJ Home Inspection to schedule a professional home inspection for your home or business. Member, American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Call 800-253-4402 or email info@rjhomeinspection.com

Located in Methuen, MA and Dover, NH, RJ Inspections, Inc. provides full-service home inspection services for first home buyers and other home buyers, those selling a house, and real estate inspection for realtors, brokers, and contractors in Massachusetts: Greater Boston, Boston North, Boston South, Boston West, Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop, Revere, Amesbury, Andover, Beverly, Boxford, Bradford, Danvers, Essex, Georgetown, Gloucester, Groveland, Hamilton, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lynn, Lynnfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, Nahant, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Peabody, Rockport, Rowley, Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Wenham, West Newbury, Acton, Arlington, Ashby, Ashland, Ayer, Bedford, Belmont, Billerica, Boxborough, Burlington, Cambridge, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Everett, Framingham, Groton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Medford, Melrose, Natick, Newton, North Reading, Pepperell, Reading, Sherborn, Shirley, Somerville, Stow, Sudbury, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsboro, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Westford, Weston, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn, Ashburnham, Athol, Auburn, Barre, Berlin, Blackstone, Bolton, Boylston, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Fitchburg, Gardner, Grafton, Hardwick, Harvard, Holden, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leicester, Leominster, Lunenburg, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Templeton, Upton, Uxbridge, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Westborough, Westminster, Winchendon, Worcester, Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Wellfleet, Yarmouth, Avon, Bellingham, Braintree, Brookline, Canton, Cohasset, Dedham, Dover, Foxboro, Franklin, Holbrook, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Milton, Needham, Norfolk, Norwood, Plainville, Quincy, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, Wellesley, Westwood, Weymouth, Wrentham, Agawam, Blandford, Brimfield, Chester, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Granville, Hampden, Holland, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson, Montgomery, Palmer, Russell, Southwick, Springfield, Tolland, Wales, West Springfield, Westfield, Wilbraham, Abington, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Hull, Kingston Lakeville, Marion, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, Middleboro, Norwell, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rochester, Rockland, Scituate, Wareham, West Bridgewater, Whitman, Amherst, Attleboro, Berkley, Dartmouth, Dighton, Easton, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Mansfield, New Bedford, North Attleboro, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Westport, Arlington Park, Atkinson, Atkinson Heights, Atlantic, Atlantic Heights, Auburn, Austin Corners, Baglett Grove, Bayside, Bean Island, Bersum Gardens, Breakfast Hill, Brentwood, Brentwood Corners, Brick School Corner, Cable Road, Camp Gundalow, Camp Hedding, Candia, Candia Four Corners, Canobie Lake, Cemetery Corners, Chases Grove, Chester, Christian Shore, Clark Hill, Cluffs Crossing, Coffins Mill, Collettes Grove, Conleys Grove, Cowbell Corners, Creek Area, Danville, Deerfield, Deerfield Parade, Derry, Derry Village, Dows Corner, East Candia, East Derry, East Hampstead, East Kingston, Eastman Corners, Eastman Point, Elmwood Corners, Elwyn Park, Epping, Exeter, Fairhill Manor, Five Corners, Fogg Corner, Fogg Corners, Foster Corners, Four Corners, Foyes Corner, Fremont, Fremont Station, Gooch Corner, Gosport, Great Boars Head, Greenland, Greenland Station, Hampshire Road, Hampstead, Hampton, Hampton Beach, Hampton Falls, Hampton Landing, Haynes Corner, Howards Grove, Hubbard, Jady Hill, Kensington, Kingston, Lamprey Corners, Langs Corner, Leavitts Hill, Little Boars Head, Littlefield, Londonderry, Lyford Crossing, Marshall Corner, Meadowbrook, Melrose Beach, Monahan Corners, Nason Corners, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newington Station, Newmarket, Newton, Newton Junction, North Beach, North Chester, North Danville, North Epping, North Hampton, North Hampton Center, North Londonderry, North Nottingham, North Salem, Northwood, Northwood Center, Northwood Ridge, Nottingham, Nottingham Square, Noyes Terrace, Onway Lake, Pannaway Manor, Parkman Corner, Peppermint Corner, Perkins Hill, Pine Grove Park, Piscataqua, Plaice Cove, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Portsmouth Plains, Powwow River, Prescott Corner, Raymond, Riverside, Rockingham, Rowes Corner, Rye, Rye Beach, Rye North Beach, Salem, Salem Depot, Sanborn Corners, Sandown, Sargent Corners, Seabrook, Seabrook Beach, Seabrook Station, Severance, Shaws Hill, Smith Colony, Smith Corner, Smithtown, South Danville, South Deerfield, South Hampton, South Kingston, South Seabrook, Stratham, Stratham Station, Tappan Corners, The Five Corners, The Plantation, The Willows, Towles Corner, Town Hall Corner, Wallis Sands, Weare Corner, Weares Mill, Wentworth Acres, West Derry, West Epping, West Hampstead, West Kingston, West Nottingham, West Rye, West Windham, Westville, Wilson, Wilson Corners, Windham, Winniconic, Winnicut Mills.

We also do building inspections for commercial property as well as home inspections in New Hampshire: Atkinson, Auburn, Brentwood, Candia, Chester, Danville, Deerfield, Derry, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Fremont, Greenland, Hampstead, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Kensington, Kingston, Londonderry, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, Newton, North Hampton, Northwood, Nottingham, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Raymond, Rye, Salem, Sandown, Seabrook, South Hampton, Stratham, Windham, Concord Barrington, Cocheco, Davis, Dover, Durham, Farmington, Gonic, Lee, Madbury, Middleton, Milton, Milton Mills, New Durham, Rochester, Rollinsford, Salmon Falls, Somersworth, Strafford, Amherst, Bedford, Bennington, Brookline, Deering, Francestown, Goffstown, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Hillsborough, Hollis, Hudson, Litc, field, Lyndeborough, Manchester, Mason, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, Nashua, New Boston, New Ipswich, Pelham, Peterborough, Sharon, Temple, Weare, Wilton, Windsor, Amherst, Antrim, Antrim Center, Bank, Bedford, Bennington, Broad Acres, Brookline, Browns Corner, Chase Village, Clinton Grove, Clinton Village, Cricket Corner, Davis, Deering, Drury, East Deering, East Merrimack, East Milford, Elmwood, Francestown, Gibson Four Corners, Goffs Falls, Goffstown, Grasmere, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Happy Valley, High Bridge, Hillsboro, Hillsboro Center, Hillsboro Lower Village, Hillsboro Upper Village, Hollis, Hollis Depot, Holton, Hudson, Hudson Center, Lawrence Corner, Lincoln Park, Litchfield, Loverens Mill, Lyndeborough, MacDowell Colony, Manchester*, Mason, Massabesic, Milford, Mont Vernon, Mountain Bas, Nashua*, New Boston, New Ipswich, New Ipswich Center, Noone, North Branch, North Brookline, North Pelham, North Village, North Weare, Parker, Pelham, Perham Corner, Peterborough, Pinardville, Ponemah, Pratt, Reeds Ferry, Riverdale, Russell, Sharon, Slab City, Smithville, South Brookline, South Lyndeborough, South Merrimack, South Milford, South Weare, Tavern Village, Temple, Thorntons Ferry, Weare, West Brookline, West Deering, West Hollis, West Peterborough, West Wilton, Wilder, Wilton, Wilton Center, Woodland Park, Amherst, Antrim, Antrim Center, Bank, Bedford, Bennington, Broad Acres, Brookline, Browns Corner, Chase Village, Clinton Grove, Clinton Village, Cricket Corner, Davis, Deering, Drury, East Deering, East Merrimack, East Milford, Elmwood, Francestown, Gibson Four Corners, Goffs Falls, Goffstown, Grasmere, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Happy Valley, High Bridge, Hillsboro, Hillsboro Center, Hillsboro Lower Village, Hillsboro Upper Village, Hollis, Hollis Depot, Holton, Hudson, Hudson Center, Lawrence Corner, Lincoln Park, Litchfield, Loverens Mill, Lyndeborough, MacDowell Colony, Manchester*, Mason, Massabesic, Milfor, Mont Vernon, Mountain Bas, Nashua, New Bosto, New Ipswich, New Ipswich Center, Noone, North Branch, North Brookline, North Pelham, North Village, North Weare, Parker, Pelha, Perham Corner, Peterborough, Pinardville, Ponemah, Pratt, Reeds Ferry, Riverdale, Russell, Sharon, Slab City, Smithville, South Brookline, South Lyndeborough, South Merrimack, South Milford, South Weare, Tavern Village, Temple, Thorntons Ferry, Weare, West Brookline, West Deering, West Hollis, West Peterborough, West Wilton, Wilder, Wilton, Wilton Center, Woodland Park.