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Stay safe and comfortable this winter: review these tips

January 8, 2018 -

The City of Kingston and Utilities Kingston urge you to review these winter-related safety tips:

1. Be a good neighbour. Show your family, friends and neighbours you care about their comfort and safety – keep your sidewalk clear of snow and ice. 

2. Be a Snow Angel. Snow Angels notice when neighbours need help clearing snow and ice from a driveway or sidewalk and do it for them. Know someone who could use a helping hand?

Have a Snow Angel? Go to www.CityofKingston.ca/SnowAngel to get a special free toque and letter of appreciation to give to your kind neighbour.

3. Be safe around snow plows.

Drivers: Stay three car-lengths behind a snowplow to allow for a safe stopping distance. NEVER cut off a snowplow.

Pedestrians and parents:

  • Assume the snowplow driver has NOT seen you.
  • If you see a snowplow, move off the sidewalk and into a yard where you can be seen.
  • Do NOT play on, or make forts or tunnels in roadside snow banks.
  • NEVER approach a snow plow, even when it has stopped.

Go to www.CityofKingston.ca/snow to find out about City snow-clearing standards and priorities.

4. Keep gas meters clear. Although your outdoor gas meter is designed to withstand winter weather, heavy or hard-packed snow and ice can be a safety hazard. Keep snow and ice from building up on and covering your meter. Concerned Utilities Kingston customers can call the 24-hour line at 613-546-1181 or visit www.UtilitiesKingston.com for tips and information. Concerned Union Gas customers can call its emergency line at 1-877-969-0999.

5. Keep outside exhaust vents – such as those for gas-fired furnaces or waters heaters – cleared of snow or ice.

6. Ensure fire hydrants and fire department connections are visible. We thank citizens and building owners who take the time to clear snow and ice from fire hydrants and fire department connections. This will assist fire fighters in the event of an emergency.

7. Clear snow and ice from fire escapes, exit doors and other emergency exit points to allow for a safe exit in the event of a fire emergency.

8. Place garbage and recycling where it can be clearly seen and safely collected. Please do not place garbage bags/containers, recycling boxes or green bins on top of snow banks. Choose a collection area at a safe and visible ground-level location on the boulevard closest to the curb, or on the right side at the end of your driveway or walkway (as you face the street).

Another option is to create a shelf in the snow bank that provides the collector with easy access to your waste containers.  Search "Winter Waste Placement" at www.YouTube.com/TheCityofKingston for examples.

Keep a path from the road to your collectibles clear of snow and ice. Safe placement helps avoid worker injury.

9. Do not park overnight on City streets. Parking is prohibited on city streets from 1 to 7 a.m. – and from 12 to 7 a.m. on the streets that surround Kingston General Hospital – until March 31, 2018. This bylaw ensures that cars are kept off the streets so that snowplows can effectively respond to winter weather events. You can be fined and towed for violating the bylaw. Please note that parking in the middle of a cul-de-sac is also prohibited at all times.

10. Businesses: keep sidewalks clear of hazardous snow and ice. If you front onto public sidewalks you must remove any snow or ice – including roof-top snow, ice or icicles hazardous to pedestrians –  "as soon as is practicable but, in any event, not later than 12 hours after the end of the precipitation that caused the snow and ice."  Those who don't will be charged the cost for clearing and could face a fine of up to $5,000. It is also illegal to move snow on to streets or sidewalks.

11. Prevent water from freezing around electrical lines. Keep your eaves troughs free of debris so water runs safely away before it freezes. Ice can build up where overhead electric service wires attach to your home—a dangerous and costly situation. Consider that the root of the problem may be poor attic insulation.

Never attempt to clear ice from or around electrical service wires yourself. Concerned Utilities Kingston customers can call the 24-hour line at 613-546-1181. Concerned Hydro One customers can call 1-800-434-123 – available 24 hours a day, every day.

12. Remove icicles hazardous to pedestrians. Every building owner/occupant in Kingston must remove the snow and ice, including icicles, from the roof of their building when it poses an immediate danger to pedestrians. Those who do not will be charged the cost for clearing the icicles and could face a fine of up to $5,000.

13. During prolonged, extreme cold spells, take steps to prevent water lines from freezing. Go to UtilitiesKingston.com/Water/FrozenServices to see if your pipes are at risk of freezing – and the steps that building owners can take to help prevent freezing pipes. This webpage also explains the processes and responsibilities involved if your water service does freeze.

About the City of Kingston

Kingston's vision of being a smart, livable 21st century city is fast becoming reality. History and innovation thrive in our dynamic city located along the beautiful shores of Lake Ontario, an easy drive from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, in the heart of eastern Ontario. With a stable and diversified economy that includes global corporations, innovative startups and all levels of government, Kingston's high quality of life offers access to world-class education and research institutions, advanced healthcare facilities, affordable living and vibrant entertainment and tourism activities.

Twitter: @CityofKingston
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCityofKingston

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Media contact: For more information call the communications and customer experience department at 613-546-4291, ext. 2300.