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O&R Offers Winter Weather Safety Suggestions

Orange & Rockland Utilities shared some tips for dealing with heavy snow Thursday.

O&R is asking customers to clear snow and ice from the natural gas regulators and meters on their homes as well as any outdoor vents connected to gas equipment, allowing it to "properly breathe and operate." Brooms are suggested over shovels becuas they present less risk of damage to pipes.

The accumulation of ice can hamper the delivery of natural gas and, if it builds up enough, create a dangerous situation.  Customers can call O&R to free the equipment if meters and regulators become completely covered in ice. 

O&R also urges removal services to pile snow away from natural gas equipment. 

O&R also sent out a reminder that customers should be aware of the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning that can result form the use of heating units that malfunction or are not properly vented. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is invisible and has no taste or smell. Breathing even small amounts can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea. Prolonged exposure can result in greater health risks, including death.

Some signs of a carbon monoxide problem are:

  • Stale, stuffy air and high indoor humidity
  • Soot fallen from a fireplace chimney or furnace flue
  • No draft in a chimney or flue. 

Anyone suspecting a carbon monoxide problem or smelling natural gas call O&R's gas emergency hotline at 1-800-533-5325. In the case of smelling natural gas, leave for a safe location immediately, then call. 

O&R declared a Storm Watch Tuesday and it remains in that status with between six and 12 inches of snow expected to fall by the time it tapers off Friday morning. 

Gas equipment is not the only thing residents are asked to keep clear of snow and ice. Postal officials also sent out a reminder for residents to include their mailboxes when they dig out from the snow to help carriers remain on schedule.

This means keeping the area around roadside mailboxes and front doors for doorstep deliveries clear of snow and other obstacles. 

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