Winter Safety and Parking Tips from the City of Grand Rapids

 The City of Grand Rapids is urging residents to follow the odd-even and same-side parking rules in place for winter and reminding them they may receive a parking ticket and, in some cases, can have their vehicle towed if they don’t.

“It’s important for public safety that our plows can clear and keep streets open when we have snow and ice,” Public Works Director James Hurt said. “We are in the middle of a major storm. Our police department is enforcing the City ordinance that requires residents to follow the odd-even parking rules that have been in effect since Nov. 1.”

To avoid a $20 parking ticket, drivers are encouraged to comply with the signs posted on the street where they are parking. For a map of city streets that have odd-even or one-side parking restrictions and enforcement hours, CLICK HERE. If a vehicle is stickered as abandoned and not removed within 48 hours, it will be towed and impounded at the owner’s expense.

The City also is reminding residents and private snow plow operators that it’s against City ordinance to put snow in streets, alleys and sidewalks. It also prohibits the blocking of fire hydrants and mailboxes. If you’re interested in adopting a hydrant in your neighborhood to keep it clear of snow and ice, CLICK HERE.

Property owners also are required to clear their sidewalks 24 hours after the end of a snowfall or ice event. Residents who aren’t able to clear their sidewalks are encouraged to ask a friend or neighbor for help, call the Heart of West Michigan United Way’s 2-1-1 or reach out to their neighborhood association.

Residents are being asked to help clear catch basins in their neighborhoods ahead of this weekend’s forecasted rain and warmer temperatures. Melting snow and ice can accumulate if they can’t drain properly and, if they freeze again, streets can become dangerous and flood. If you’re interested in adopting a basin to keep clear, CLICK HERE.

Below are other tips for staying safe in these cold and snowy conditions.

Frostbite
In these frigid temperatures, it can take only 15 minutes for frostbite to set it. Protect yourself by covering up, especially your nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Warming shelters
Local service organizations are working to ensure all individuals and families in our community are sheltered from the cold. For a list of local shelters, CLICK HERE. If you or someone you know needs warming assistance, contact 2-1-1 immediately by phone, text or online for resources and referrals.

Alternative heating

  • If you smell natural gas or propane near your furnace or gas heater, don’t try to light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call 911.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment such as a furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater, including furnishings, blankets and other objects. Set up a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven, stove or range to heat your home.
  • Plug electric portable space heaters directly into an electrical socket. Never use electric space heaters with extension cords or multiple plug adapters. Plug only one space heater into any one outlet.
  • Make sure your space heater has an automatic shut-off switch and it’s placed on a level and even surface. Never use it in a bathroom or other areas where there’s water.
  • Keep kids and pets a safe distance away from space heaters and turn them off when leaving a room or going to bed.
  • If using a space heater that requires fuel, always use the fuel specified by the manufacturer and re-fuel the heater outside your home.

Electrical safety

  • Do not overload your electrical outlets. A tripped breaker or blown fuse may indicate a circuit issue that can cause a fire if ignored.
  • Downed power lines are dangerous. Never touch them. For safety’s sake, always assume that a fallen power line is live and follow these guidelines:
  • Avoid touching the downed line with your hand or an object, such as a stick, broom or pole
  • Avoid touching anything – car, object or equipment – or anyone who is in contact with a fallen power line
  • Keep children and pets away from fallen electric lines
  • Avoid driving over a fallen power line
  • Call 911 immediately to report a fallen power line

Carbon monoxide

  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. It’s recommended you have one on each level of the home.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other portable fueled appliances indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
  • Keep all exhaust vents clear of snow and ice. This allows carbon monoxide to vent outside and reduce the risk of accumulation.
  • Periodically check your gas-fueled appliance vents during and after significant snowfall to guard against buildup that can lead to a blockage
  • For more information, CLICK HERE.

The Grand Rapids Fire Department encourages homeowners to sign up for the department’s free Residential Safety Program, which provides fire safety education and, if needed, fire crews install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in owner-occupied homes at no cost. To schedule a free home safety assessment or alarm installation, call 311 or 616.456.3000. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Frozen pipes

  • Exposed pipes in unheated areas of your home or garage are more prone to freezing. Wrap or insulate these pipes.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors. This allows warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Let cold water run from the faucet – pencil diameter
  • If you’re away for more than a day, shut off your water and leave the thermostat at 55 degrees or higher to reduce the chance of frozen pipes.
  • Be a good neighbor and notify our Water System at 616.456.3200 if you suspect or notice a water leak at a vacant home or building.
  • For more information, including what to do if your pipes freeze, CLICK HERE.

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