Take Snow and Roof Safety Measures

Feb. 9, 2010
OPA 036/10

News Highlights  

  • Evacuate if you notice any warning signs of roof distress.
  • Do not attempt to clear the snow off a roof; do clear roof downspouts and drains.
  • Call 9-1-1 if the roof has collapsed.
  • Fairfax County Emergency Information Line — 703-817-7771, TTY 711.

More Information 

As heavy snow continues to accumulate, the Fairfax County Snow and Roof Safety Web page offers important safety measures for flat roofs. If a roof has collapsed, call 9-1-1.

Information from the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services addresses:

Single Family Homes and Townhomes

If there is a flat roof, monitor the ceiling below and look for signs of roof distress. Evacuate if you notice any of these warning signs:

  • Sagging ceiling beneath the flat roof.
  • New cracks on ceiling drywall or plaster.
  • Popping, cracking or creaking sounds.
  • Doors and/or windows that can no longer be opened or closed. 

Residents should not attempt to access their roofs to try to clear the snow due to the safety concerns of slipping off the roof and exposure to electrical wires.  Residents should clear the areas around downspouts and roof drains so that melting water has a path to flow away from the house when the snow begins to melt. 

Commercial Buildings

Most commercial buildings are designed to accommodate a roof snow load associated with 24 inches of dense, compact and/or wet snow. If there are any of the warning signs below, the building needs to be evacuated immediately:

  • Sagging roof members including steel bar joists, metal decking, wood rafters, wood trusses and plywood sheathing.
  • Popping, cracking and creaking sounds.
  • Sagging ceiling tiles and/or sagging sprinkler lines and sprinkler heads.
  • Doors and/or windows that can no longer be opened or closed.

Residents also may contact the Fairfax County Emergency Information Line at 703-817-7771, TTY 711 for more information; voice mail messages will be monitored and returned.

Emergency information and status updates are available on:

Additional winter weather preparedness information can be found online. In addition, emergency contact numbers for public utilities is online should residents lose electricity, gas, telephone, cable, Internet or water service.


Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

ADA Accessibility | Website Accessibility
Awards | FOIA | Mobile | Using this Site | Web Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Get Adobe Reader
Official site of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, © Copyright 2015

Website Feedback Website Feedback    Globe with various flags representing Web site language translations   Language Translations

Return to Graphic Version