I was driving around Heritage Hill this afternoon and I noticed a lot of houses have icicles. Some homes have REALLY BIG icicles and they can be dangerous. About 15 fatalities occur every year in the U.S. from falling icicles. Many others are injured and there is a substantial amount of property damage attributed to falling icicles and falling ice in general.
Learn the safe way to knock icicles down from your house (or better yet, considering hiring someone to do the job).
“Icicles are very dangerous and they present a number of hazards to people and buildings,” said Fire Chief Robert Gandee of Willoughby Hills Fire Department in Ohio.
Gandee said his department doesn’t often have to respond to icicle injuries, but when they do, they can be severe.
“Sometimes it hits people in the eyes, or … some of them are sharp enough they could create some punctures or cuts,” Gandee said.
Gandee also stresses safety for people who try to remove icicles on their own, rather than use a licensed contractor.
“One, you have to have the right equipment and have the knowledge and be outfitted with the right materials to do it safely,” said Gandee.
Gandee and firefighter Zach Martin walked Nexstar’s WJW through the proper way to bring icicles down, recommending a long pole, and starting low.
“You’re just going to tap them … keep them away from windows because they will head toward the direction of where you push them,” Gandee said. “You also have to be careful too, and with bigger icicles, sometimes they’ll ride down the pole that you’re holding and come right toward you.
It’s also imperative not to come into contact with electrical wires.
“We see instances where the icicles are knocked off and they hit a gas meter or electrical meter and then creating other sets of hazards,” Gandee said.
Ice damming on people’s roofs can also be a hazard and cause leaks and water damage. Firefighters say if the problem becomes too big, call a licensed contractor instead of trying to melt any ice yourself.
“We see people that try to use fire and torches to try and melt the icicles which is a really bad idea and we’ve seen a number of fires over the years at commercial buildings and houses when people try to do that,” said Gandee.
The fire chief also recommends trying to clear doorways from any icicles, especially as the weather changes and icicles can dislodge. Just remember to do it safely or have someone else do it.
Also, beware of parking where your vehicle can get hit by falling ice, either from a building or from an object like a tower. On rare occasion, the Mackinac Bridge is closed because of falling ice.