BOSTON, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — Following a briefing with top public safety, emergency management and economic development officials, Governor Deval Patrick today urged residents across the Commonwealth to be vigilant of the threat posed by potential roof collapses following several days of snow and freezing rain that has accumulated.

Governor Patrick also directed the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to take immediate steps to work with the Small Business Administration to determine eligibility for a Small Business Administration physical disaster declaration or economic injury declaration as a result of damage to numerous homes and businesses.

“Following several days of snow and freezing rain, the dangers of roof collapse are real,” said Governor Patrick. “I am urging homeowners, businesses owners, and public officials across the state to be extra vigilant for their own safety, and for the structural integrities of their homes and businesses. If you suspect that there are any abnormalities whatsoever in a building that you occupy, you should evacuate immediately and call 911. Please take the extra time and care to check on elderly or infirmed neighbors and make sure they have what they need to stay safe.”

The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety, MEMA, the state Fire Marshal and others are coordinating closely with public safety officials in cities and towns across the Commonwealth to ensure that they have the support they need to respond to collapses and protect the safety of their residents.

MEMA recommends that homeowners, tenants, and businesses make themselves aware of the danger posed by heavy snow loads on roofs, and the warning signs of potential structural weaknesses. In some instances, the risks posed by accumulated snow on roofs can be mitigated by safely removing snow from roofs. Because temperatures are expected to remain cold for at least the next few days, and more snow may fall as early as this weekend, efforts should be undertaken now to safely remove snow from roofs.

Removing snow from rooftops will minimize the likelihood of structural collapse, but should be undertaken with extreme caution, and preferably with the assistance of trained professionals. In particular, flat and low pitched roofs, most often found on industrial buildings but also used in certain home designs, are at the greatest risk of buckling under heavy snow and ice accumulations.

The State Fire Marshal also recommends that homeowners take extra precautions to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide issues in their households, and should clear snow from vents.

As always, residents can call 211 for additional non-emergency questions or information, or visit