Burping Gas Meters: Two More Important Places to Shovel
As if you didn't have enough snow to shovel or snow, Hampton Fire Chief Michael McMahon asks you to clear two additional areas that will benefit everyone in the long run.
"We would certainly appreciate folks shoveling their hydrants to a clearance of three feet on all sides. This allows us access should we need them," McMahon told Seacoast Current. "Of course we'll send our guys out Sunday to start that process as well. But any that are already done makes it a lot easier for us and safer for everybody."
It's also important to clear away dryer vents and gas meters around your home.
"Gas meters that get buried under snow, for want of a better term, they burp a little bit. You can get gas built up under snow and you can have a fire," McMahon said.
The chief recalled a series of snowstorms in 2015 that resulted in a gas buildup after snow was piled up against the gas meter, causing a house fire in Hampton.
"They had raked the roof and buried the gas meter. Over a period of days the gas accumulated and found an ignition source," McMahon said. "The hydrant that we used was very nicely cleared which helped a lot, but the house was a total loss."
Clearing away snow from the vents on a gas boiler or furnace will reduce the chance of carbon monoxide buildup in the home.
The chief also urged caution when clearing snow off a roof, and suggested that if you're not comfortable working on a ladder, get someone to do it for you.
"You can hire people to do that. We don't want someone to fall and get hurt doing things like that," McMahon said.
Another thing to keep in mind while cleaning up after the storm is Jessica's Law, officially known as 265:79-b Negligent Driving, which legally requires all snow and ice to be removed from vehicles before driving.
First time offenders face a fine of between $250 and $500, while second offenses can mean a fine of between $500 and $1,000.
Jessica's Law came into effect in 2001 after a sheet of ice flew off a tractor trailer and into another truck, causing a head-on collision with a car driven by Jessica Smith, 20, according to research by the John W. King New Hampshire Law Library. Smith died in the crash.
Kira contributed to this report