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With the extreme cold temperatures and blowing snow, the Bismarck fire Department would like to remind residents of simple winter weather safety tips to stay safe.
•Keep Vents Clear of ice and snow outside of your home. This includes vents on the ground and on the roof and to inspect natural gas meter and furnace vent areas to make sure there is not a buildup of snow and ice. Residents are encouraged to clear the snow and ice away from the meter and the furnace vent area. Anyone operating snow removal equipment needs to be aware of objects buried under the snow, which can include natural gas meters and risers. It is not recommended to work on your roof in winter conditions. Try to reach the vents from the ground, or contact a service provider to clear your roof.
•Keep Gas Meters Clear of Snow. Accumulations of snow and ice can cause the regulator and meter to malfunction and result in a hazardous situation. A buried regulator may become clogged, affecting the supply of gas to the appliances. When melting occurs and the snow becomes wet and heavy, it can put pressure on the meter setting and cause strain on the associated piping. In extreme cases, the possibility exists that the piping could break. The gas meter regulator will malfunction if covered with snow, shutting off your gas supply and causing the furnace, which heats your home to stop working.
•Check Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Carbon Monoxide detectors should have fresh batteries.
•Check Smoke Detectors Monthly. Smoke detectors should be in each bedroom and on each level of your home. Change the batteries annually or replace the smoke detector if it is more than 10 years old.
•Keep Fireplace Dampers Open when hot ashes are present. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
•Never use a Kerosene/Propane Heater Inside as an auxiliary heater.
•Dispose of Ashes Properly. Place ashes in a metal container outside and away from your home. While the ashes may seem cool, they can retain heat for several days. Do not place the ashes in the trash until you are absolutely certain they are completely cold.
•Thaw Frozen Pipes using electric heat tape or a hand held dryer. Never use an open flame device such as a torch that could ignite the wood structure supporting the pipes.
•If you believe damage has occurred around the natural gas meter, please call Montana-Dakota Utilities at 1-800-638-3278 so the problem can be repaired.
•Seek assistance to clear vents that may be plugged with snow or ice. Contact a local service provider.
•Check the Yellow Pages, “Snow Removal Services”, www.bismanonline.com, search “Snow Removal” or the Bismarck Tribune classifieds service directory.
For more information contact the Bismarck Fire Department at 701-355-1400.