Rockland County’s Director of Fire & Emergency Services
Gordon Wren said his greatest concerns about the winter snowstorm are not
several inches of snow but the frigid cold, potential white out conditions and
use of space heaters.
With temperatures predicted to drop to below zero, Wren said pipes freeze quickly and burst. Another danger from the extreme cold is hypothermia, which affects people in a matter of minutes.
“Right now I’m worried about the cold,” he said. “This is life threatening cold.”
And the subzero temperatures bring a great danger of fires. Wren said people living in poorly insulated homes or illegally converted buildings often resort to using space heaters, kerosene heaters and ovens to keep warm. He said he has seen instances where people brought a charcoal grill inside and attempted to use it to keep warm. Despite warnings not to be extremely careful with space heaters, he said once temperatures get down to one or two degrees, fire calls come in.
Wren said the snow is expected to be dry and fluffy which means it will fly around in the strong winds and cause whiteout conditions which could result in multiple vehicle accidents.
“I’m worried about the blowing snow,” he said. “You can get those pileups.”
Wren strongly recommended that people stay home and remain there until the snow ends and the roads are cleared on Friday. He said people can take some pre-emptive steps that could make their homes more comfortable.
- Check all windows to make certain they are closed tightly and not ajar.
- If pipes have frozen in the past, let a small amount of water drip from a faucet on the highest floor of the building.
- Another option is to leave the doors open to the cabinets so the room air warms the pipes.