If the record-breaking snow wasn't enough to deal with already, there's now another danger hanging right over our heads. Driving around Erie, you see huge icicles hanging from almost every home and building.
They may look nice, but they're more dangerous than you may realize; deadly even. The large icicles forming on the homes and buildings across the area are growing larger by the day. That's why it's important to always be aware of your surroundings.
Matt Exley, Director of Emergency Management, says, "it can have an effect on people walking". Apart from making sure the icicles don't hit you, make sure the ones on your home aren't at risk of hitting someone else. "If you have icicles that are that large," Exley says, "you probably need to hire a professional company."
If hiring a professional is not in your budget, try Roofmelt tablets, designed to melt ice, or install heat tape in your gutters. Exley advises against hammers, shovels, baseball bats, and other similar weapons of icicle destruction. "We all like to break off the icicles off the front of our homes. Those can be dangerous if falling, they are significant in weight... and they can hurt if they fall on your head, certainly."
If a heavy icicle does end up falling and striking you, you may be able to treat some injuries yourself, but they are warning signs you should look out for. Trevor Phinney, D.O., Neurohospitalist at Hamot Hospital, says, "If you do lose consciousness... as well as if you have any sort of confusion or weakness after that, that could be a sign of not only a concussion but other injuries that could occur."
Depending on the weight of the icicle and distance to the ground, it could end up exerting hundreds of pounds of force on whatever it hits. In a less extreme situation, it's still important to take care of any cuts, bumps, bruises or other minor injuries.
Of course, Dr. Phinney says it best when he warns, "Be careful and move out of the way of falling ice".
Check out our facebook page to find out how most Erieites are clearing their homes of icicles this winter and join in the discussion.