How and why you should remove snow from your roof

Snow can be a big burden during the winter. Out of sight, out of mind is not the approach you want to take to snow on your roof. Follow these tips for safe snow removal.

CONCORD, N.H. – State officials remind residents and business owners to consider removing snow and ice from roofs before anticipated rainfall. The combination of heavy snowfall over the past few days, followed by rain that cannot pour off the roof as it normally would, can cause additional weight and put stress on your building’s roof.

“A roof may collapse with little or no warning, and one common misconception is that only flat roofs are susceptible,” explained State Fire Marshal Paul Parisi. “With changing winter weather that can bring us snow, rain, and freezing rain in a short timeframe, it’s important to regularly assess the roof of your home or business. If you’re not sure of the weight capacity of your roof or if you think it may have been compromised, consult with a reputable builder and your local building or fire official.”

Home and business owners are also encouraged to keep all chimneys and vents clear to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into the building.

“Residents should make sure it is safe to remove the snow from roofs, especially pitched roofs, to prevent personal injury,” says State Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Jennifer Harper.

The following are snow removal safety recommendations:

  • Use a long-handled roof rake and stand on the ground to remove snow from the roof.
  • If you must use a ladder, make sure the base is secure.
  • Ask someone to hold the ladder while you climb.
  • Do not clear snow during periods of strong winds.
  • If you see an electrical wire that may have fallen onto your roof, call 9-1-1 and do not touch it.
  • Keep room drainage systems clear of snow to prevent the risk of roof ponding in the event of heavy snow melting.

Director Harper and State Fire Marshal Parisi also remind residents to plan ahead to determine the best options to protect their property, and to help the elderly with their snow and ice removal process.

Jessica's Law

Snow removal from your businesses and residences isn't the only thing you should be worried about; it's also important to remove snow from your car prior to hitting the road — in fact, it's the law. Since 2002, New Hampshire drivers have been legally required to clear snow and ice off their cars before getting on the road. Drivers who violate the law face fines of $250 to $500 for a first offense and $500 to $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

Article courtesy of The New Hampshire Department of Safety


Paul D. Raymond, Jr.
NH Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Community Outreach Coordinator
C: (603) 892-5804