Dangers to your home during extreme cold

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SOUTH BEND From health concerns to problems on the roadway and school closings, extreme winter weather can cause big problems. Another threat is the safety of your home.

ROOF COLLAPSE: Experts suggest people evaulate their risk.

The folks at disastersafety.org say people should determine how likely snow accumulation is on their home. Flat roofs create the liklihood of snow buildup, whereas high peaks create situations for ice and snow to fall and melt.

Estimate how much snow your roof can hold. According to disastersafety.org, most residential structures that are not damaged or decayed can hold 20 pounds per square foot of snow. But, check with the building department to find out when your home or structure was built.

Next, determine how much the snow on your roof weighs. Up to 4 ft. of fresh snow is typically safe on standard roofs, up to 2 ft. of packed snow is manageable, but combine the two and 2 ft. of each may be too heavy. An inch of ice is equal to a foot of fresh snow.

FROZEN PIPES: According to the professionals at First Response, this has been a consistent problem in Michiana. The extreme cold can cause pipes to burst and leak.

Folks should take action before winter by insulating the pipes. If it's too late, be sure to monitor potential risk spots.

People can treat frozen pipes at home with a blow dryer. But, never use an open flame or torch. If you are concerned about flooding or mold, contact emergency professionals.

You can also prevent frozen pipes by keeping a faucet dripping to continue the water flow or by opening cabinets to continue the warm air flow.

"We encourage people to be aware of those situations and really monitor them closely to cause a prevention situation instead of having to deal with something after the fact," said Al Scott, the president at First Response in South Bend.

First Response has a 24 hour emergency crew available. Contact them online or by phone at (574) 288-0500.

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