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Preventing Frozen Water Service Lines
faucet dripping
Residents May Prevent Frozen Water Service Lines by Keeping the Water Moving

Extreme cold weather and associated deep frosts may freeze exterior water service lines that provide water to the house. For most homes, normal usage of water will prevent frozen water service lines. However, if your water service lines have frozen in the past, it may be helpful to take some precautions to prevent frozen pipes.

Precautions
While the City generally encourages water conservation, continuous running of water may prevent the costs ($800 or more) and inconvenience of frozen pipes. In the few cases where precautions should be taken to prevent frozen service lines, the following information may be helpful.
  • Let the cold water run continuously from one faucet throughout the day and night. Do not use the hot water for the continuous water stream.
  • The water stream should be approximately the thickness of half to full diameter of a pencil.
  • Be sure that the sink used for the running water (for example, the washtub in your laundry room) drains properly before letting the water run for a prolonged period.

If Your Exterior Water Service Lines Freeze
Property owners are responsible for frozen water service lines that lead to their property. However, if you experience a frozen water service line, you should contact the City Utility Billing Division right away to discuss options. A staff member will contact you and evaluate the situation. Residents will be charged for the water used, unless they have been contacted directly by city staff and received prior approval for preventive water usage rates.

Frost depths vary considerably at different locations and for different lengths of time depending on the weather. City staff monitor frozen water service line reports. 

Who to Contact
If your pipes are frozen or if you have questions, please contact the Utility Billing Division at (763) 569-3390, Monday through Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm. After hours, contact 911 (Hennepin County Dispatch) and City Public Works staff will be notified.

Snowfall Hazards & Ice Control

Snowfalls often bury fire hydrants, heat vents and exitways. With several feet of snow piled up and more snow on its way, residents and businesses are asked to keep fire hydrants, exitways and vents clear of snow and obstructions. 

Clear-a-hydrant
With recent snowfall, many fire hydrants are partially or completely buried in snow and need to be cleared as soon as possible. Residents and businesses are asked to clear snow at least three feet around hydrants and clear paths to hydrants in the neighborhood. If you are physically unable to clear a hydrant on your property, please ask a neighbor to help. You may also contact the Fire Department for assistance. You do not need to call the Fire Department if you have cleared a hydrant.  The Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division video explains how clearing hydrants can save lives and property. Watch video.

Gas furnaces, water heaters and gas meters 
Vents for gas furnaces and water heaters or other fuel burning appliances should be cleared of blowing and drifting snow. Blocked appliance vents could result in loss of heat or buildup of deadly carbon monoxide. If your furnace is not working, check to see if the exhaust vent is clear of snow. Also check your gas meter regularly to be sure a three-foot clear area exists around your gas meter to prevent the regulator from freezing up and allow quick shutoff in an emergency. 

Be sure to check carbon monoxide (CO) alarms within your home or business to make sure they are operating properly. CO alarms should be installed on every floor and outside of every bedroom in your home. 

Building exitways and address numbers 
All exitways, including emergency exits, from buildings should be checked to make sure they are accessible, and clear of snow and ice buildup. Be sure address numbers are not covered by snow. 

Snow and ice removal etiquette 
While it is sometimes difficult to find places to store snow during heavy snowfalls, residents and businesses are asked to follow basic snow and ice removal etiquette. If you have a snow removal contractor, please review these items with the contractor. 

  • Do not place snow into or push across streets, or block sidewalks. This may create hazards for vehicles and pedestrians, cause drainage and ice problems, and otherwise hinder snow removal efforts of the city.
  • Do not place snow on neighboring properties without permission of the property owner.
  • Please make sure vehicles and equipment are not parked on the streets over night and during snow removal activities.
  • Please store garbage and recycling containers on your driveway, not in the street or on sidewalks.

Commuters are reminded to proceed slowly and with caution at intersections or driveways where snow height may reduce visibility.

Each year the Brooklyn Center Fire Department responds to numerous fire calls, many during winter months. In emergencies, every second matters and your assistance in providing quick access to hydrants and buildings saves valuable time for emergency responders. 

Resources

  • Questions about fire safety- Contact the Brooklyn Center Fire Department at (763) 549-3600.
  • Questions about streets snow removal- Contact


Cold Weather Safety

In winter, Minnesota can experience extreme cold weather conditions. People are reminded to take appropriate safety precautions to protect themselves, their family and pets from cold weather hazards. Videos in multiple languages are available that include safety tips for extreme cold temperatures. 

These videos are available on the Emergency Community Health and Outreach (ECHO) website in English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali at http://www.echominnesota.org/library/winter-preparedness-and-extreme-cold-safety.


Heat Safety Tips

Extreme heat or heat waves can be dangerous to health if appropriate precautions are not taken.  Some tips to keep cool and additional resources are provided.

Tips to Keep Cool
The following recommendations will help keep you cool and safe during hot weather:  
  • Drink plenty of water or juice
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Wipe skin with cool water as needed
  • Reduce outside activities
  • Wear light-weight and light-colored clothing
  • Stay inside during the hottest time of day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
  • Seek relief from the heat in air-conditioned locations

Please check on older, sick or frail people in your community who may need help responding to the heat. 

Cooling Centers
In cases of extreme hot weather, the City may establish cooling centers for residents to get temporary relief from the heat.  Any Cooling Centers may be provided at the end of the webpage.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Any person experiencing the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke should call 911 right away. The following information provides a few of the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
- Confusion 
- Nausea 
- Light-headedness 
- Muscle cramps 
- Cool and clammy skin 

Heat Stroke Symptoms
- Confusion 
- Hallucinations 
- Slurred Speech 
- Hot, dry, flushed skin 
- Rapid or slowed heart beat 

Additional Resources
- Ready.gov at www.ready.gov/heat
- Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/extremeheat