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Placer County Public Safety Warns Of Snow Build Up

With the potential for snow buildup on buildings and systems, Placer County public safety agencies are advising residents and businesses in the Sierra Nevada to monitor buildings, propane tanks and natural gas lines for signs of excessive loading due to heavy snow.

Residents and businesses should monitor roof vents, chimneys, and flues for blockages from to snow build-up. These systems need unobstructed access to outside air to properly ventilate.

Blockages can lead to carbon monoxide build-up in buildings, creating a potentially unsafe interior environment. The heavy snow may also cause chimneys to shift creating potential falling hazards.

Particular attention should be paid to buildings constructed before Placer County adopted snow-load standards in the Sierra in the early 1960s. While construction standards since that time consider average snow accumulation, exceptional snow accumulation may exceed design limits creating a potential risk.

Local agencies are reminding residents and businesses to properly care for propane tanks and natural gas lines because deep snowpack can damage pipes, valves, and tanks leading to leaks. A technical tidbit: propane is heavier than air and settles, while natural gas is lighter than air and rises.

Anyone who smells propane or natural gas inside or outside a building should call 911 immediately. They also should avoid smoking, starting engines or motors, turning on cooking appliances, using heating/air conditioning systems or using other ignition sources.
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