The Hippo


May 24, 2020








On the ice 

Heidi Murphy, administrative lieutenant for the New Hampshire Fish & Game Law Enforcement Division, shares some tips about how to stay safe during recreation on frozen lakes and ponds. 
• Never assume the ice is safe. “We tell people to always check the ice themselves,” Murphy said. “You can use an auger or ice pick to see how many inches it goes.” (The U.S. Army Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory in Hanover has stated that ice is safe for individual foot travel at a minimum of six inches.) 
• Be mindful that temperatures and environmental factors are always changing, which can cause some sections of the ice to be thinner than others. 
• If you start to see the ice crack beneath you, carefully step back to where you know it was safe.
• If you fall through, lay both arms on the unbroken ice and kick hard to lift yourself up onto the ice. “Be aware that your body will go through a panic for the first few seconds, but you have to just calm down and get yourself out,” Murphy said.  
Lend a hand 
Manchester Public Works Director Kevin Sheppard shared several ways people can assist the city in making sure snow removal and daily operations run smoothly after a snowstorm. Many of these are applicable outside of Manchester, too, but always check with your city or town first.
• While it’s required to park your car off-street when a snow emergency is in effect, you can help snow removal services even more by staying parked off-street throughout the winter months as much as possible, particularly right after the snow emergency is lifted, so they can continue to clean up the roads and prepare for upcoming snowstorms. 
• Refrain from throwing or pushing snow into the street or walkways. “It’s actually illegal and against city ordinance to do that,” Sheppard said. “It can cause a lot of problems, for us and for the public as well.” 
• Public Works can’t clear off all sidewalks right away, especially in a snow emergency. You can help them and your fellow residents by keeping the sidewalks in your surrounding area open and clear of snow. 
• Adopt a fire hydrant in your area and make sure it’s clear of snow if public works hasn’t gotten to it yet so emergency services can access it easily if needed. 
• Keep the area around your mailbox clear of snow so that it is accessible for mail delivery. 
• Aid in trash removal services by making sure the area around your trash and recycling receptacles is clear and accessible. In the case that a snowstorm delays trash removal, keep your trash inside if possible until the next trash day. 
“The less trash that’s out on the curb, the easier it is for crews to pick it up, and less potential to block the plows or for plows to hit it,” Sheppard said.
• Keep children away from streets and sidewalks while snow removal operations are in effect, for their own safety and so plows and other equipment can operate unimpeded. 

Playing it safe
How to steer clear of winter hazards

By Angie Sykeny

 Snow and ice can present some dangers and challenges, but it doesn’t have to take a lot of effort to stay safe. Here are some tips for how to breeze through this winter while staying safe and enjoying your time outdoors. 

Safe walkways 
Slipping on icy walkways can result in serious injury, but you can actually prevent patches of ice from forming in the first place. Be consistent in keeping your walkways clear after every snowfall so snow doesn’t have a chance to get packed down into a slippery surface or to melt and refreeze as ice. 
Your method for clearing walkways can also play a part. 
“As the snow [from the side banks] melts, it holds water on the path, so you always have to give it a place to go,” said David Vermokowitz, owner of Landscape Plus in Goffstown. “Clear a walkway as wide as you can, then clear a chunk out of one of the banks so the water will flow off the side of the walkway and into that holding area. You’ll usually see plows do this on the side of the highways.” 
Be careful of melting snow that can drip down from the roof and refreeze on walkways. You can sprinkle salt or sand onto ice patches, but Vermokowitz recommends salt as it will help to melt the ice whereas sand is a temporary fix that makes the ice less slippery. 
Many cities and towns have free sand available for residents. Kevin Sheppard, Manchester Public Works Director, said there’s a sand pile for Manchester residents on Lincoln Street. 
“A lot of people don’t know about this,” he said. “Anytime, 24/7, residents are allowed to go and fill a five-gallon bucket of sand so they can keep their sidewalks and driveways safe.”
Rooftop tips
Snow buildup on your roof can be dangerous in a number of ways. In the most extreme case, Vermokowitz said, weak roofs on older homes can collapse from heavy snow loads. Ice can form along the edge above walkways and driveways and become hazardous. 
“In older homes especially, there’s more heat loss in the attic, which melts the snow, then it refreezes on the edge of the roof,” he said. “You have to look at it as a preventative thing and make sure snow never builds up too much.” 
If there’s snow or ice buildup along the edge, it can create a dam of water from the melted snow in the middle of the roof, which can eventually seep into the shingles and cause interior damage. 
To prevent these problems, Vermokowitz suggests investing in a roof rake and clearing off your roof after every snowfall the best you can. Continue to maintain the edge of the roof and rake off any snow or ice buildup that forms, and don’t forget to knock down icicles, which can be dangerous if they fall. 

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